This March marks the 25th anniversary of the "Deaf President Now" protests (DPN) at Gallaudet University. Until 1988 the university had always had a hearing president, and finally when the board chose a hearing woman not affiliated with Deaf culture over two qualified Deaf candidates, the students took over campus and staged the week-long demonstration.
Eventually the students' four demands were met:
1. Elizabeth Zinser, the hearing president selected, resigned and a Deaf man, I. King Jordan was named president of Gallaudet.
2. Jane B. Spillman, chair of the board of trustees who chose the hearing president and who was also quoted as saying "the Deaf are not ready to function in the hearing world", resigned.
3. The board was reconstituted with a 51% majority of d/Deaf members (it had previously been comprised of 17 hearing and 4 deaf members).
4. There were no reprisals against the protesters.
To read more about the DPN protests, or about Gallaudet's 25th anniversary celebration plans, click here. And, in the spirit of the DPN demonstrations, keep up the fight for equal education and access this month and onward!
The Deaf President Now protests marked a significant gain in autonomy for the Deaf community. Do you think the spirit of equality held?