Sunday, September 11, 2022

George Veditz: The Hohenstaufen Era of German Literature

Delivered By G.W. Veditz, at the Presentation Day Exercises of the National Deaf-Mute College, Wednesday, May 7th, 1884.

In the period from the middle of the twelfth to the end of the thirteenth century, the German race reached a height of national glory which it has never at any time surpassed. The ninth, tenth and eleventh centuries cover a formative period, when, through its conflicts internal and external, the nation was developing its strength and preparing itself for the great part it was to play.

In the twelfth century, when we find the Hohenstaufen line swaying the sceptre of Charlemagne, the nation had emerged into a period of comparative quiet. It had undergone a complete regeneration. Old doctrines and old habits had been swept away by the influx of new ideas and new fashions, and an active vitality was infused, giving strength for the effort that was to be put forth.

The language had undergone the same vicissitudes as the people. It had before been broken up into the dialects of the various dukedoms and provinces; but, with the people it too had become settled and unified, the powerful example of the imperial house giving the ascendancy to the Suabian tongue.

Literature then left the seclusion of the monasteries, and turned to the more genial atmosphere of the royal court and of the castles of the nobility. Hitherto, the Church had wielded the greatest influence, but now the knight–the beau ideal of chivalrous manhood–became the central figure in the popular mind; and the monotonous chant of the monkish rhymer gave place to the livelier and more stirring song of the knightly minne-singer.

At the same time the Crusades and the Wars of the Guelphs and Ghibellines gave a stimulus to the martial and chivalrous spirit of the people, and furnished the theme for many a beautiful song. Moreover, the magnificent court of Frederick Barbarossa entertained with princely hospitality the brilliant and brave from far and near. The beauty of the women of this court, the splendor of its festivals and tournaments, attracted crowds of noble guests from Brittany and Flanders, Normandy and Provence; and the aspiring German mind being thus brought into contact with the ardent and chivalrous spirit of the south, caught the fire, and adopted with enthusiastic eagerness the fashions of the visitors. The Norman trouveres taught their lays and virelays to the German minstrel; and the Provencal singers of "Tristan and Isolde" and of Enid and Geraint found themselves eclipsed by their own pupils. In short, German literature blossomed forth into a vigorous and beautiful spring–the intense life and feeling of the time finding its expression in a burst of lyric and epic song, which even the golden age of the last century has not surpassed.

The sons and grandsons of the great Frederick were all cast in his heroic mould; and under them the nation advanced in the career so gloriously begun. Thus it is that the German of today not only looks upon the period of the Hohenstaufen of Suabian dynasty as one of greatest splendor in the annals of his country, but also gives its name to the first era of a distinctively German literature.

The bard who sounded the first note heralding the literary pageant of the era was Heinrich von Veldeck, who, in his version of the "Æneid," does not scruple to make

"Pan to Moses lend his Pagan horn,"

metamorphosing Virgil's Greek and Trojan princes into adventurous German knights. But he is the first truly German poet of the age, and was followed by a long array of brilliant signers, lyric and epic–by Walther von der Vogelweide, Ulrich von Lichtenstein, Ofterdingen, Tannhauser, Hartman von der Aue, Gotfried von Strasburg and Wolfram von Eschenbach.

Of the lyric poets–the so-called minne-signers, or minstrels–Walther von der Vogelweide is the acknowledged chief. He was born about 1170, of poor but noble parentage. His youth was spent among the Tyrolean hills, whose primeval beauty early quickened the poetic soul within him–

"As yet a child and all unknown to fame,
He lisped in numbers for the numbers came."

When a youth of twenty, he left his native hills, and, attaching himself to the imperial court, was from that time, till his death in 1227, one of the conspicuous figures on the national stage. He fought under the banners of the Empire in Palestine and Italy, and as an ardent Ghibelline took an active part in the politics of the day, making fierce and bitter attacks upon the corruptions in the church.

His poems breathe an intense love of nature and of truth, and are singularly pure and elevated in sentiment. His earlier songs fairly overflow with youthful luxuriance and gaiety, but as he grows older his verse assumes a more thoughtful and graver tone, and finally exhibits the serious and philosophic temper of old age.

Of the minne-signers, Walther is the best known to the modern German reader. He is inseparably connected with the "Minstrel War of Castle Wartburg," and, as our Longfellow intimates in his beautiful ode on the old bard, his very name suggests the springtime meadow with its flowers and its song of the lark and nightingale. The productions of this grand old master are every day becoming better and better known to the German world, and they deserve to be–they are German to the core.

Besides Walther, we have a long and noble line of other minnesigners, whose poems have come down to us, and attest the marvelous literary activity of the age–ranging in excellence from the clumsy Bacchanalian song to the pure and impassioned lay addressed to the Virgin.

But we find the most interesting and distinctive feature of the period in the metrical romance, or the tale of knightly adventure in song. These works are numerous and varied, the subjects being drawn from already existing Provencal or Norman models. The stories had a tendency to group themselves about illustrious historical names, some having Alexander, some Charlemagne, and some the British Arthur as their central figure. They are vital with the spirit of chivalry, varying in dignity and interest from the true epic poem to the mere commonplace story of love and adventure.

The greatest of the epic writers is without question Wolfram von Eschenbach, a noble Franconian knight, the companion and friendly rival of Walther von der Vogelweide. He has left us two great epics, "Titurel, or the Guardians of the Grail," and the "Parsifal," besides the charming fragmentary love tale of "Sigune." They form together the noblest relics of old German poetry, and are perhaps the first works of European literature which venture upon a profound analysis of human nature.

"Titurel" and "Parsifal" are both based on the old Armorican legends of the Holy Grail. "Parsifal" is the greatest work both of the poet and the age. It is the story of a man of noble and exalted mind, open-hearted and enthusiastic, at once credulous and skeptical, who falls into doubt and is driven by this doubt into a fierce despair, which makes him renounce both God and man. But after a bitter struggle, his doubt gives place to conviction, his obstinate pride to a noble humility; and henceforth we see him in an earnest pursuit of truth and eternal life, in the search for the Holy Grail. Wolfram makes him the hero not only of physical strife, but also of the nobler struggle of the soul with the world, of pride with humility, of faith with skepticism.

This poem is the most brilliant production of this brilliant period, and its great popularity in Germany at the present day—shown by the many editions it has passed through—gives witness to its extraordinary merit. Some German critics even place it on a level with Goethe's Faust, in so far as a comparison can be drawn between an epic and a drama.

Next to Wolfram we have Gotfried von Strasburg and Hartman von der Aue. These three tower high above the throng of their contemporaries. Gotfried, in his "Tristan and Isolde," and Hartman, in ["Iwein,"] his "Gawain," and in ["Erec,"] his "Enid and Geraint," rise far above all modern poets who have handled the same subjects, and are but faintly echoed by Scott and Coleridge and Tennyson, and by our own Lowell.

Though the works in question are in some sense imitations of foreign models, yet the greater among their authors had genius enough to raise them to the level and dignity of truly original works. There is also a group or cycle of epics of genuine native growth; and of these are the "Gudrun" and the "Niebelungen Lay." They are based on the ancient legends of the Teutonic race, which it brought with it from the frozen north. They celebrate the most renowned old German heroes, and they are poems on which the Germans look with a just pride, calling the "Niebelungen" their "Iliad" and the "Gudrun" their "Odyssey." They are familiar to English readers by means of translations and critiques; and, moreover, both they and Wolfram's and Gotfried's peerless songs have been made the subject of the grandest of Richard Wagner's compositions—the "Niebelungen Ring," and the "Parsifal," and "Tristan and Isolde."

This splendid era of German literature falls wholly within the Hohenstaufen period, and it seems as if its existence was bound up with the life of this princely house. The rout of Tagliacozza, in 1268, meant not only the death of Conradin, the last Hohenstaufen, but also the blight of the literary tree that had flourished in such beauty and splendor under this dynasty. The decline was rapid, for the very heart was dead. The lyricists lost all the grace and passion of Walther and Lichtenstein, and their songs became inane and degraded, pandering to the sensual taste of the time. The soulless meister-song succeeded to the lays of the old minstrels; while such epic poets as still existed, Rudolph von Ems and Konrad von Wurzburg, complain bitterly of the hostility and bad taste of the people, and seem at the same time to be aware of their own inferiority. This literary barrenness lasted for two hundred years, until Luther, at Wittenberg and Worms, roused anew the heart of the nation, and modern German literature begins.

One of the most marked features of the present time is our interest in the past. Our old literatures have ardent and loving students, who daily find new treasures of the richest poetry which have long lain concealed. Percy and Scott have resuscitated the exquisite old English ballads, while Scott in his "Triermain," Coleridge in his "Christabel," and Tennyson in his "Idyls," have made the heroes of the Round Table as popular now as they were in the heyday of chivalry.

In Germany, the comparative poverty of its literature makes the so-long-unknown gems of the Hohenstaufen time, a gift of priceless value, and they now shine refulgent in the literary diadem of the nation. Through the genius of Richard Wagner, Bodmer, Von der Hagen, and a host of others, these old works are becoming daily better known and daily dearer to the patriotic German heart. And so should it be. Let the present and the past in literature always confront and interpret each other, and, in the words of the English Laureate,

"Their echoes roll from soul to soul,
And grow forever and forever."


Angela Davis speech at Gallaudet University: “The Indivisibility of Justice”

PDF Version


[Sustained applause and cheers]

ANGELA DAVIS [signing]: Thank you very much

ANGELA DAVIS [speaking]: Well, first of all, good afternoon! It has been so wonderful to spend time on the campus of Gallaudet. I have followed the struggles and the radical activism associated with this campus for many years, and over multiple student generations, Gallaudet has become a model for people everywhere who are striving to make justice a reality.

This is Black History Month. It is also the week when Negro History Week was first celebrated beginning in 1926. And having grown up in Birmingham, Alabama, I remember as a child when we used to celebrate Black History Week each year. Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is on February 12th. Frederick Douglass’ birthday is today, February 14th.


But today is also Valentine’s Day, when we tell each other, “I love you.” [Signing]


And it is a day on which we might reflect on our love for justice and the interconnections of love and justice.

The theme of my talk this afternoon comes from Dr. Martin Luther King’s observation that justice is indivisible, and injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. And as people on this campus have demonstrated through the defense of the rights of deaf people and the forging of a vibrant Deaf Culture, including a Black Deaf Culture, history reveals — [Applause] — history reveals the expanding parameters of justice. We cannot make the mistake, which is the formative error of this country, of assuming that democracy can work if it is confined only to a specific group of people. It used to be the case that affluent white, straight, hearing men controlled the destiny of this country.

The recent election demonstrated that even though the majority of white men voted for Romney, which I found very troubling, their will could still not prevail because ninety-six percent of black women, eight-seven percent of Latina women, the majority of white women and all of the other people who stood up for justice won out over the will of the majority of affluent, white, straight, hearing men.


And so what does that mean? It means that this is a new day for the United States of America.

Black History Month

Black history in the Americas is the history of the quest for liberation, and it thus belongs to all who identify with and cherish historical and ongoing struggles for freedom.

Black history, whether here in North America, or in Africa, or in Europe, has always been infused with the spirit of resistance — an activist spirit of protest and transformation. And therefore, when we celebrate black history, it is not primarily for the purpose of representing black people in the numerous roles, as first to break the barriers in many fields that have been historically closed to people of color, although it is important to acknowledge these firsts, but rather, we celebrate black history because it is a centuries-old struggle to achieve and expand freedom for all. Black history is indeed American history, but it is also world history.

Now, this is a special year. It is the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. And I would like to ask you: What does it mean that we have not been called upon to celebrate the sesquicentennial of this act that supposedly liberated the slaves?

Obama issued a proclamation on December 31st, I believe, asking us to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st. How many of you engaged in that celebration? Not too many of us, right?

Perhaps we’re not celebrating it because there was a fraudulent aspect to the Emancipation Proclamation. It was more — When I say “fraudulent,” I mean that it wasn’t really an act to emancipate the slaves. It was a military strategy. It was a military strategy much more than it was a measure to free human beings from an oppressive, racist, immoral institution. It was a military strategy. And therefore, all of those states and all of those sections of states that remained loyal to the Union were allowed to keep their slaves.

And, as a matter of fact, Frederick Douglass said in 1865 that the Civil War — and I’m quoting — “was begun... in the interest of slavery on both sides. The South was fighting to take slavery out of the Union and the North fighting to keep slavery in the Union — the South, fighting to get it beyond the limits of the United-States Constitution, and the North, fighting... for the old guarantees — both despising the negro, both insulting the negro.” This was Frederick Douglass’ observation in 1865.

Now, how many of you have read the Emancipation Proclamation? Well then, if you have read it, you know that the majority of the document deals with the exceptions. The majority of the document lists the states and the neighborhoods even and the parishes that will be allowed to keep their slaves. Very bizarre, isn’t it? Very bizarre. Yet, Abraham Lincoln was a very shrewd man. He knew that if some slaves were free, they would join the Union Army and they would fight even more passionately, or far more passionately, than white soldiers to win the Civil War.

And as a matter of fact, it was — according to W.E.B. Du Bois in Black Reconstruction in America — it was precisely the freed black slaves who joined the Union Army who were responsible for winning the war! As a matter of fact, I suggest that during this 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, or perhaps over the next couple of years, we encourage everyone who has not yet read Du Bois’ Black Reconstruction in America to read that book. High schools, colleges, universities, graduate-level students, everyone should read Black Reconstruction in America.

Du Bois argues that the Emancipation Proclamation brought about, in effect, a general strike. And Chapter 4 of his book is called “The General Strike” — how the Civil War meant “emancipation,” and how the black worker won the war by a general strike which transferred his labor from the Confederate planter to the northern invader, in whose Army lines workers began to be organized as a new labor force. So he says the withdrawal and the bestowal of labor by the slaves on the Union Army was what actually won the war. This army of striking labor eventually produced the 200,000 soldiers whose evident ability to fight decided the war.

Now, let’s say a few words about the film, “Lincoln.” I was wondering, what’s going to happen when we experience the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment in 2015? Will there be another film? Who knows? But if you’ve seen the film “Lincoln,” you know that it is about his successful attempt to guarantee the passage of the 13th Amendment, but we don’t see the backstory in the film, do we? We don’t recognize in the film that actually Lincoln had been previously in favor of transporting all of the black people who were freed to another country, to another place, to Africa. He was an advocate of colonization, and he persisted until he realized that the majority of black people were not going to support him. You know, at the same time, Lincoln was an amazing figure, and as someone who has studied a great deal of feminist theory, I’ve learned how to feel very comfortable in a place of contradiction.

[Laughter and applause]

So I can be very critical — [to the audience members who applauded:] thank you — so I can be very critical of Abraham Lincoln and at the same time I can praise him. And I might even say the same thing about our President.


We can ask ourselves: What did the 13th Amendment achieve? and: What did it not achieve? Anyone who believes that the institution of slavery could be abolished simply by an amendment to the Constitution is inhabiting a fictional world. How could a few lines appended to the Constitution get rid of a long history of racism and oppression — get rid of an institution that had penetrated the very warp and woof of the fabric of American society?

But at the same time, it was important. It was extremely important. And it occurs to me that this university was founded in the year between the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. And I’m wondering how you have reflected on that historical conjuncture. And again, as someone who has studied feminist theory, I believe that we should “think together” things that are often kept apart.


And so as Elena Ruiz, in her very eloquent introduction, pointed to the importance of pursuing discussions on intersectionality here on this campus, I will only say that I second the motion.

[Laughter and applause]

But let us fast-forward to the 20th century — to the mid-20th century — and let us recognize that the mid-20th century movement for justice, for freedom, was necessary only because slavery was not comprehensively abolished. We tend to think of these historical moments as discrete and separate and isolated. Slavery was abolished and then there was a civil rights struggle, but the struggle for civil rights would have been entirely unnecessary had slavery been fully abolished.


And so what we should probably say is that during the movement of the mid-1900s — the mid-20th century — we were continuing the struggle against slavery. It was a 20th Century abolitionist movement. And I have to say that I happened to turn on the television in my hotel room last night here at the Kellogg Center, and there was an amazing documentary on the Freedom Riders, which meant that I didn’t go to sleep until 2 o’clock this morning — [Laughter] — And in many ways, that world was so different from the world that we inhabit today, and we should be proud of that. But at the same time, it’s not so different. It’s not so different. And here again is the contradiction we should be riding.

Let’s go back to the 1860s, from the 1960s to the 1860s — the latter 1860s, up to 1877. That was the most radical era in the history of this country, and it’s the era most people in this country know absolutely nothing about. If we understood what happened during that very short period, before the overturning of radical reconstruction, if we understood that former slaves were so passionately involved in the struggle for education that in the South — and I know that we are in Washington, D.C., which is the South — in the South, public education was brought to all children. White children, poor white children in the South, would have never had access to public education had it not been for the struggle of former slaves. And of course, numerous black people became elected officials. New laws including progressive laws for women, progressive divorce laws, laws that allowed women to own property — all of this came out of the era of radical reconstruction, but, of course, in 1877 it came to a close, and you had the rule of Jim Crow, the rule of segregation, the rule of the Ku Klux Klan, the emergence of a punishment system that foreshadowed the prison-industrial complex in the late 20th Century, the development of massive prison plantations, and the development of the convict lease system...

The Indivisibility of Justice — Race, and Sexuality

So my next section is on the indivisibility of justice, race, and sexuality. And, of course, we’ve been talking a great deal about marriage equality recently, and marriage equality is important as a civil rights issue, but again, I want us to have a broader framework and to go further than simply arguing that LGBT communities need to have access to the heteronormative institution of marriage — [Applause] — because, let me say, first of all, that the Women’s Movement and the Gay Rights Movement were inspired by the struggle for freedom that black people waged for so many decades — [Applause] — And what was so exciting about the Gay Rights Movement during its feminist phase was its critique of marriage, especially because this institution was a capitalist institution designed to promote the preservation and distribution of property, and also because this institution had been used oppressively against black people.

Slaves were not allowed to marry. Interracial marriage was illegal until Loving v. Virginia. And, of course, Bush. You remember George W. Bush? [Pause] Bush argued that all of the problems of poverty in the Black Community could be solved if only they got married — But it had to be heterosexual marriage, right?

So I’d like us to complicate these issues of justice. The indivisibility of justice implies that we cannot separate different causes, different struggles. It is counterproductive and contradictory to choose whether to support justice for people of color — for black people, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans — or justice for LGBT communities — [Applause] — It is also wrong to call for justice on the basis of ableism. It is wrong to exclude deaf communities and disabled people from the circle of justice, but this cannot be — [Applause] — but this cannot be corrected simply on the basis of inclusion. Social justice movements associated with hearing people should take leadership from the Deaf Community. In this age of neoliberalism, when individualism has reached impressive and unprecedented heights — Everybody is individualistic these days. The individual on the capitalist market — Hearing social justice advocates have so much to learn about the collective and community-based approaches of the Deaf Community.

The Indivisibility of Justice — Immigration Rights

We have to defend the rights of immigrants. If the concept of civil rights is to have any meaning during the 21st century, then we all have to stand up for the rights of immigrants — [Sustained applause] — And it is not only about the Dream Act and a path toward citizenship. It is about that, but it is also about welcoming the people who do so much of the labor that fuels the economy — agricultural labor, service labor — and this is an issue that black people in particular should take note of, because immigrants are people who perform the labor that black people used to perform.


We need to incorporate strategies to minimize Islamophobia — [Applause] — and xenophobia. The indivisibility of justice requires us to defend Muslims who are seriously under attack because of ideological efforts to equate Islam and terrorism. Even people who have little to do with Islam are under attack because of this ideological association. Sikhs, for example, who have been killed because their turbans are misread as Muslim. And in this context, let me say that we should reveal the so-called “War on Terror” to be a strategy for U.S. military dominance — U.S. imperialist and militarist dominance — [Applause] — Guantanamo should have been shut down four years ago, but it is certainly time to say: Shut down Guantanamo now, right now.

The Indivisibility of Justice — The Prison-Industrial Complex

We understand that in light of the rise of global capitalism, especially during the 1980s — it didn’t end in the 1960s — In the 1980s, we saw the disestablishment of the welfare state, the disestablishment of human services, the transfer of capital to profitable sectors of the economy and the decision to forget about everything else, that is to say, to “privatize” everything else, privatize education, privatize healthcare, even privatize punishment. And so using the racially-charged issue of drugs, the so-called “War on Drugs,” deeply affected communities of color. It established the basis and the framework for what we call the “prison-industrial complex,” and the background is the same as that which led to the emergence of the Ku Klux Klan after the Civil War and the emergence of the convict lease system and the plantation prison system to which I referred. The context was the need to manage, in the 1800s, freed black bodies. The context at the end of the 20th Century is the need to manage unemployed bodies of color, poor white bodies, female bodies that no longer have access to welfare which has been disestablished, deaf bodies that are denied the services necessary to produce democracy and equality. And so now one out of every one hundred adults is behind bars. One out of every thirty-seven adults in the United States of America is under the control of a criminal justice agency. Even though the U.S. consists of five percent of the global population, here in this country we have twenty-five percent of the incarcerated population. We are a “prison nation.” We are a prison nation. Justice is indivisible. Justice for the more than 2.5 million people who are at this moment in jails and prisons and military prisons and Indian jails and federal prisons.

The Indivisibility of Justice — The Internationalization of Justice

And, finally, in my talk of the indivisibility of justice, I want to briefly talk about the internationalization of justice. How do we expand our vision? How do we develop a more capacious sense of justice for the planet?

Recently I have been doing a great deal of work on Palestine, having visited the occupied territories last year, and I learned more, not only about the need to support Palestinian people who are simply struggling against oppression — They’re struggling against some of the same measures of segregation that we as black people encountered in the 1960s — But they are also thinking deeply about issues of intersectionality, and I had the opportunity to meet with a group of very young people who are called “Queers for BDS” — and BDS is “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” — and they are trying to challenge the pinkwashing strategies of Israel. How many of you have heard of pinkwashing? Oh, I only see three hands, four hands, maybe five. Not that many. Google “pinkwashing.” Find out what it is.

But let me say just very briefly, Israel represents itself as a place where women enjoy equality and where LGBT communities enjoy equality, and Queers for BDS argue that justice is indivisible, equality is indivisible. It makes no sense to argue that the state of Israel is a “haven for gay people” if Palestinians experience their lives as if they were in the largest open-air prison in the world.

The critique of pinkwashing reveals the shallowness and the contemptuous character of the democracy that Israel purports to represent, and I would suggest that we can use that approach to develop critiques of the kind of democracy that prevails in this country: the exclusion, the continued exclusion of Native Americans. Why is it that, given the fact that this country was founded on practices of colonization, Native Americans continue to be subject to forms of genocide, even discursive genocide?


And I would like to speak more. I have a lot more to say, but there is not enough time. So let me thank you very much for your attention.


And tell you —

[Cheers and applause]

Let me tell you what an honor it has been to spend this time with you.

[Cheers and applause]

Thank you! Thank you! [signing]

[Cheers and applause]

[Transcript unofficial]


FLYER: davis.pdf

Sunday, July 26, 2020

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1989

By Brian Riley

New Horizons (Newsletter of the UCLA Office for Students with Disabilities)

Vol. 2, No. 3, Winter-Spring 1989, p. 5.; PDF version

Legislators, after extensive contact with the disabled community, are now putting the finishing touches on the final draft of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) of 1989. Representative Tony Coelho (D-CA) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) are working together on the drafting of the ADA and are planning on introducing identical bills in the House and Senate in early May.

A previous version of the ADA was introduced in 1988 by Rep. Coelho and former Senator Weicker (HR 4498 and S 2345), but the 1988 session ended with the bill still in committee. Congressman Coelho's staff reports that the intent and purpose of the '88 version is being retained in ADA '89. Basically, the act is designed to extend civil rights to persons with disabilities in the private sector. Specifically, persons with disabilities will have legislated rights in the areas of employment, transportation, public accommodations, communication, and state and local services. Because of the successful passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1988, which strengthens the original 1968 Fair Housing Act and adds "persons with disabilities" to the list of minorities protected from discrimination in housing, it was not necessary to retain the housing provisions that were included in ADA '88.

ADA is a civil rights act and as such does not establish affirmative action programs. Disabled individuals will have legal recourse and may bring suit against individuals or agencies (e.g. to have back wages awarded, have their employment reinstated, have the court order the installation of ramps, etc.). The method of legal recourse will be similar to the provisions made in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which, in the case of the desegregation of public facilities, permits the United States Attorney General to initiate civil proceedings in the appropriate US district court against the responsible parties when the individual aggrieved is determined to be unable to bring the suit forth and the complaint is determined to be meritorious.

[Note: The 1989 bill was not the bill that finally passed into law.]

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Commentary: Parallels in Power – Successes and Missteps among Gallaudet University presidents

It can be roughly said that the Gallaudet Presidents from Elstad to Cordano parallel, in vague terms, the characteristics of the US presidents from Eisenhower to Clinton. Gallaudet President Elstad can be compared to US President Eisenhower. Neither of them really had the corresponding background necessary for their jobs. Eisenhower was not a politician and it wasn’t even clear at first whether he would go with the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. Analogously, Elstad’s administrative service was ambiguous. He was a K-12 educator with some more expansive administrative experience as a regional leader in Rotary International. By moving into higher education administration he was entering uncharted waters.

A rough comparison can be made between Gallaudet President Merrill and US President Johnson. Both excelled in their jobs, however each incorporated a major defect within their administrative philosophies. For President Johnson his major downfall was the escalation and support of the war in Vietnam. President Merrill was the enthusiastic about cued speech and he did much to promote its escalation and promulgation. He was fortunate to have avoided the judgment of history on this point while he was alive.

Gallaudet President I. King Jordan can clearly be compared to US President Richard Nixon. Although Jordan was close allies with Senator Tom Harkin, he was actually conservative in his values. Jordan was a “law and order” guy who actually never did support DPN in his heart. After dozens of people in the community chastised him via TDD during the first few days of DPN week, including former President Merrill, he decided to go with the flow and adopt a pro-DPN persona. Eventually such a false persona could not hold and it broke down. Similarly, although Nixon was aligned with conservatives, he was one of the most progressive Republican US presidents in modern times. Little recognition is given to Nixon on these points, but he actually did a great deal to continue LBJ’s “Great Society” programs (even including the federal program that allocated funding to improve teacher training in the field of Deaf education). Nixon was dishonest and experienced a great political fall. Jordan was also dishonest and recklessly took his cues from Andrew Imparato for his major policy decisions, leading to his spectacular downfall in 2006.

Gallaudet President Davila compares roughly with US President Gerald Ford – both of them swooping in to re-establish stability and common sense. Both Nixon and Jordan had nearly wrecked the idea of the US presidency and the Gallaudet presidency, respectively. President Davila faced the near-impossible task of picking up the broken Humpty Dumpty metaphorical eggshell pieces that Jordan left behind in order to reconstruct the Gallaudet presidency and stave off institutional disaster. It was a miraculous feat that only someone of Davila’s administrative and political experience could pull off, since he had served previously as Assistant Secretary at the US Department of Education. His maneuvering there to convince Secretary Alexander to approve last-minute additions to the Federal Register, pertaining to issuing guidance on how to implement the IDEA law, plus his dual saving of the institution of and the presidency of Gallaudet University makes him the most important educational administrator in Deaf history in the United States, even more important than EMG.

Gallaudet President Hurwitz roughly compares to US President Jimmy Carter. Both were masters in their domain, but both came onto the scene at the wrong time, politically. President Hurwitz would have been more successful in place of President Merrill for that era. Jimmy Carter tried to extend Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal policies, but simply suffered a “shortfall” of talents – which is not a negative assessment. He was very good at what he did, but simply not quite good enough to achieve what he needed to achieve.

Now we see Gallaudet President Cordano roughly being comparable to US President Clinton. Both seem great and are/were policy wonks, but both lack the primary characteristics necessary to do their respective jobs. Bill Clinton was actually only successful because of Hillary Rodham Clinton. She added the extra knowledge and capabilities that Bill Clinton lacked. Without that, he would have never functioned successfully as US president. Cordano, similarly, is missing certain required skills. She would never have made it this far without her chief of staff’s experience and know-how. This raises the question, will Cordano survive, politically? If she doesn’t, will Harker apply to be the next Gallaudet president? Will there be an Interim Gallaudet President in the meantime?

Stay tuned...

Amendment (July 18, 2024): Former Gallaudet Provost Roslyn G. Rosen appears to have had some influence so far with the Cordano administration. 

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Former Gallaudet President Jordan's ghost writer revealed for the first time

PRESS RELEASE: Saturday, February 8, 2020, 9:00 pm Eastern Time, including important new material in the Revised Second Addendum

Originally issued: Saturday, August 28, 2010, 1:22 pm ET

Former Gallaudet President Jordan's ghost writer revealed for the first time

David Armstrong has retired from Gallaudet

Long-time Gallaudet staff member David Armstrong has retired from Gallaudet.

This transcript of a radio interview with Armstrong mentions that he retired recently from Gallaudet:

This information has been verified with the administration. Currently, the position of Executive Director of Gallaudet University Press is open and a replacement is not being sought.

Armstrong, as the “Executive Director of the Gallaudet University Press and External Affairs,” had been serving in an expanded capacity, including acting as editor of Sign Language Studies and as Executive Director of Gallaudet University Press, and having a supervisory role over Public Relations department. Armstrong stepped down from his role as editor of Sign Language Studies toward the end of 2009, but was continuing to act until recently as Executive Director of GUPress and Executive Director of External Affairs.

The editorship of Sign Language Studies was then passed to Linguistics professor Ceil Lucas, who is internationally known and respected for her work on the sociolinguistic aspects of ASL and also for working with the Fulbright students at Gallaudet and helping students to obtain Fulbright scholarships, a program with which Gallaudet has recently had great success.

In a Fall 2008 article, which appeared in Sign Language Studies, under David Armstrong’s editorship, author James M. McPherson wrote the following passage:

“Edward soon began lobbying Congress to grant his institution a college charter. He succeeded in 1864, when, even though the Civil War was raging, Congress took time to incorporate the Columbia Institution as a college and to authorize it to grant degrees.” (SLS, Volume 9, Number 1, Fall 2008, page 37.)

The claim that, in 1864, “Congress took time to incorporate the Columbia Institution as a college” is disputed and is probably not accurate. There is no language in the 1864 law mentioning incorporation. The 1864 law law grants the Columbia Institution the authority to confer college degrees, but says nothing about Gallaudet’s corporate status. It is a well-known and accepted fact that Edward Miner Gallaudet lobbied Congress to pass the 1864 law without notifying Amos Kendall or the other members of the Board of Directors of the Columbia Institution at the time. That being the case, it is very doubtful that the 1864 law would have had any relationship to Columbia’s preexisting 1857 Charter (i.e., very doubtful that the 1864 law would constitute any type of amendment to the 1857 charter, especially since it was not labeled as being an amendment), and it is very doubtful that the 1864 law would have been considered a “second charter.” A federal charter is a legal contract between the federal government and the members of the board of directors of the entity being granted a charter. One bedrock and foundational principle of the law is that parties cannot be made participants of a contract without their knowledge. Therefore, it is more likely than not that the 1864 law was simply a law (i.e., an “act,” as Amos Draper refers to it, by fingerspelling, in the famous 1915 film–The title “The Signing of the Charter of Gallaudet College” was not the original 1915 title of the film of Amos Draper, but was added by a film editor when new copies of the films were made in the early 1930s). Although Edward Miner Gallaudet did refer to the 1864 law once as being “the charter of the college,” he did not do this until Presentation Day, May 10, 1899, which was 35 years after the event and he was probably mistaken in characterizing it that way.

The language of the above quote from McPherson could be taken to imply that Gallaudet has two charters, a claim that has probably never been made before. The appearance of this claim in the Fall 2008 issue of Sign Language Studies would be interpreted by some as indicating a lack of effective oversight of the SLS journal at the time, under Armstrong’s editorship.

A similar lack of effective oversight occurred when the book: A Fair Chance in the Race of Life, which contains articles by McPherson and other authors, was published by GUPress in late 2008. In the editorial comments, which prefaced one of the articles, the book’s editors accuse Edward Miner Gallaudet of acting in an audistic and paternalistic manner in the matter of the hiring of Daniel Chester French to create the famous THG/AC statue. Yet the book’s editors failed to place EMG’s actions in proper historical context, which was that most college and university presidents at the time, all over America, acted in a heavy-handed manner in the exercise of their duties, and in that context, EMG’s actions were typical and common for the time and should not be singled out as being unique or aberrant. Any criticisms of EMG’s actions (which might be valid criticisms) should be applied to the wider group of university and college presidents, and should not be directed at EMG alone or be over-interpreted to entail audistic leanings or tendencies on his part. Especially in this last regard, EMG should be given great benefit of the doubt due to his role in helping to found the college, which has had wonderful effects of empowerment that have now lasted for almost 150 years. As the Executive Director of GUPress, Armstrong should have cautioned the editors of the “Fair Chance” book that the editorial comments they were inserting were biased and constituted conclusions made out of historical context. The publication of the book will have long-lasting effects on the reputation of GUPress.

More recently, under Armstrong’s tenure as Executive Director of External Affairs, former Gallaudet PR Director Mercy Coogan was re-hired on a temporary/contract basis to work again with the PR Department. No announcement was made to the wider Gallaudet community that she was being re-hired, and had an announcement been made, it is very probable that the community would have expressed great misgivings about re-hiring Coogan, even on a temporary basis, due to her performance as head of PR during the time of the 2006 UFG protest when she downplayed concerns about the front end loader/bulldozer being used to remove protesters tents at the Brentwood/MSSD gate.

Currently, the administration is not looking for a replacement for the position of Executive Director of External Affairs, and the PR aspect of that position is now being handled by Donald Beil, President Hurwitz’s chief of staff.

The operation of GUPress is presumably now being handled on a temporary basis by Paul Kelly, until a replacement can be found for the position of Executive Director of GU Press.


Here is the full text of the “Editor’s Introduction” of the article in question that was mentioned in the update below:

QUOTE (p. 33 in the “Fair Chance” book):

Michael J. Olson’s meticulously researched article directly challenges benign interpretations of Edward Miner Gallaudet’s presidency. Drawing heaving from primary sources, Olson looks at a previously unexplored controversy that sparked intense debate among American deaf leaders in the late 19th century and raised troublesome questions about Gallaudet’s commitment to equality for deaf people. Olson depicts Gallaudet as ironfisted and essentially absolute in his decisions. Gallaudet operated under the guise of hosting an open competition to hire a sculptor to create a statue of his father and Alice Cogswell, but, Olson shows, even before receiving proposals from deaf candidates, he had already commissioned the well-known hearing artist, Daniel Chester French, for the job. Olson’s research suggests that audism and paternalism were characteristics of Gallaudet’s first president.


There are multiple problems with this disgraceful “Editor’s Introduction.” First of all, the “introduction” (editorial) seems to constitute an act of paternalism in and of itself, since the goal of the “introduction” seems to be to inculcate a particular point of view to readers of a Deaf audience before they have even started reading the article. The claims of the article should stand or fall on their own merits, without such editorial handholding being prominently highlighted at the beginning of the article. Also, the “introduction” constitutes an insult toward the author of the article, and implies that the author didn’t do a good enough job of writing the article in the first place to communicate his intended points to the reader.

Next, the wording of the “introduction” is highly deceptive, starting out with nebulous weasel words and phrases such as “drawing heavily from primary sources,” “looks at...the controversy,” “raised ... questions,” “Olson depicts,” etc., then gliding and shifting into more definitive conclusions than the author himself provided in the article, stating: “Gallaudet operated under the guise of hosting an open competition to hire a sculptor to create a statue....but he had already commission the well known hearing-artist, Daniel Chester French, for the job.”

Not only is this manipulative writing and improperly propagandistic on the editor’s part, but this is just plain bad editing and bad writing. If this is truly the author’s message, why preempt the author and make the point before the reader has read article? The reader might as well just stop at the end of the “introduction,” swallow hard, and then skip to the next article, being left with the impression that the editor’s characterization of the article was accurate.

In fact, the editor’s characterization of the article is not accurate. Nowhere in the article does the author make the sweeping claim that is made in the “introduction” (i.e., that “Gallaudet operated under the guise of hosting an open competition to hire a sculptor to create a statue....but he had already commission the well known hearing-artist, Daniel Chester French, for the job.”)–Such a sweeping claim is simply not in the article itself. The author, rather, is presenting his interpretation of comments made by EMG in a letter that he wrote to French and in comments that he made in his diary. Specifically, the author writes (on p. 37): “This episode [about two storms blowing over an apple tree]...suggests that President Gallaudet was more closely involved in the selection of French than some of the Deaf leaders thought.” (emphasis added). Later the author refers to: “The apparent conflict in Froehlich’s statements, as well as the seeming decision to select a hearing artist without a formal process...” (emphasis added). The author does not go on to use more definitive language, but presents his thesis as a thesis, needing to be supported by interpreting pieces of evidence. Nowhere does the author make any definitive, sweeping claims, as was made in the “Editor’s Introduction.”

The “editor,” in his “introduction,” is the actual person(s) involved who is acting in an absolutist manner, by not properly taking into the account the historical context (that most college presidents acted heavy-handedly and exerted undue influence during that historical period), and on top of that, by not taking into account Deaf history.

After the Milan Conference of 1880, Deaf education was slowly careening into major crisis mode. One very plausible interpretation of the later decision to change the name of the “National Deaf-Mute College” to “Gallaudet College” would be that a name change would help to prevent the takeover and/or change in the philosophy and mission of the college on the part of Alexander Graham Bell (which Bell could have perhaps done by lobbying Congress, and did later try to do in at least one instance) and firmly cement the college’s link to the establishment of the Hartford school and to the pedagogy and philosophy brought to America by Clerc and used at that school. Erecting a statue of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and Alice Cogswell would be a major step in the direction of cementing the college’s link, in the public’s mind, with the Hartford school. If the name change was done for that reason and if the statue was erected for partly that reason, then the historical context of the events can accurately be described as a type of political emergency.

In such types of emergency scenarios, people’s actions must be judged carefully in the specific contexts in which they occur. One only need keep in mind that the announcement of a proposal to erect a statue honoring THG was made at the NAD convention in 1883, at the same time Bell was preparing to deliver his infamous “Memoir” speech in New Haven, Connecticut, which he did that November. The paper he presented was titled: “Upon the Formation of a Deaf Variety of the Human Race”. Bell had been working on this paper for years by writing letters to superintendents of Deaf schools all over the country, and this fact would have been well known to the people who were involved in deciding to propose the erection of a statue to honor THG.

A more appropriate view of EMG’s actions would be one of him being a strong advocate for the social equality of deaf people and hearing people. EMG even explicitly referenced such concept of equality by stating the following in his 1864 inaugural address: “Dr. [Thomas Hopkins] Gallaudet gave to the world the most convincing proof of his belief that the deaf and dumb could through education be made the social and intellectual equals of those possessed of all their faculties, by taking one of his own pupils as his wife.” Five years later, during the second commencement ceremonies, EMG gave another address, stating: “Deafness, though it be total and congenital, imposes no limits on the intellectual development of its subjects, save in the single direction of the appreciation of acoustic phenomena.”—These are not statements made by a person who thinks Deaf people are inferior. To the contrary.

The editor of the “introduction” to Olson’s article in the Fair Chance in the Race of Life book makes no reference to any of these wider considerations and no reference to the wider historical context. Such type of out-of-context conclusion-making represents the quintessence of absolutism, and thus a more appropriate conclusion, on our part, to make would be that it is instead the editor(s) of the introduction who is acting in a way that is “ironfisted and essentially absolute in his decisions,” and is succumbing to psychological projection in writing the “introduction” in the way that it was written.


Brian H. Greenwald and John Van Cleve were the editors of the book: A Fair Chance in the Race of Life–The Role of Gallaudet University in Deaf History, which was published by Gallaudet University Press in 2008 under David Armstrong’s executive directorship.

Here is the link to the Worldcat listing for the book:

Readers will recall that Brian Greenwald was Chair of the committee that ran the “150 Years on Kendall Green–Celebrating Deaf History and Gallaudet” conference, which was held at the Kellogg Conference Hotel on April 11-13, 2007. The other members of the conference planning committee were: David Armstrong, Senda Benaissa, William Ennis III, Gene Mirus, Joseph Murray, Nicole Sutliffe and John Van Cleve. No disclaimer was made at the conference as to explaining how the decision was made to invite I. King Jordan to be a keynote speaker at the conference. The decision to hold the conference was made in 2006, while Jordan was still President of Gallaudet, and the decision to invite Jordan to be a keynote speaker was, therefore, a decision that was made under his auspices. Such a situation calls for a disclaimer to be made, as is common practice in television and print journalism and in other professions. The “Fair Chance” book is essentially a follow-up to the conference, and the book also contains no disclaimer or explanation. Instead, the book contains propagandistic remarks by Jordan, which amount to rationalizations and dodging responsibility for acknowledging his role and his shortcomings in taking actions that ended up inciting the 2006 protest—a protest that could have been avoided had he acted differently during the term of his presidency.

Readers will recall that I. King Jordan (ostensibly) used the term “absolutists” in his January 22, 2007 commentary that was published in the Washington Post. Whether or not Jordan used a ghost writer on his January 2007 editorial is something that has also not been acknowledged or addressed. The question arises as to whether or not it was David Armstrong who actually wrote the infamous WaPo commentary and had it published under Jordan’s name, thus, continuing the exploitation of deaf people by using them as dupes, as it appears Paul Kelly had being doing vis-a-vis King JordanJordan, our erstwhile hero who was taken from us, by the machinations of the power-elite for their own purposes.

<=== CLICK HERE to return to the Shock Waves press release.

Addendum (Sept. 21, 2022): The 1869 commencement ceremony was actually the second commencement ceremony, not the first, as is widely believed (with even television's Jeopardy question writers perpetrating this false information). Melville Ballard graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree, the very first earned degree issued by the College, in 1866, and "exercises" were held (in other words, a commencement ceremony) in Chapel Hall during which his degree was granted. The 1869 ceremony was the first commencement ceremony involving more than one graduate, and is important on that basis (and is even currently indexed as the "first" commencement by the GU administration) 

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Shock Waves in the North American Deaf Community — Student Protest Leader Carl DuPree Killed by Gallaudet Campus Police, November 9, 1990

Re-Release: Saturday, February 8, 2020, 6:45 pm ET

Original press release: Monday, September 24, 2012, 3:13 pm ET

Shock Waves in the North American Deaf Community — Student Protest Leader Carl DuPree Killed by Gallaudet Campus Police, November 9, 1990

Gallaudet Vice President shifts blame, unjustly making scapegoat out of Deaf professor

(Washington, DC)

Chronology and synopsis of events:

Carl DuPree, an undergraduate student at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC, had made several unsuccessful attempts to pass a remedial English course prior to the Spring semester in 1990.

The normal practice at the time was for the English Language Program (ELP) coordinator to be listed as the instructor in the schedule for all English 50 classes, as is what happened in this case.

DuPree signed up for English 50 for the Spring of 1990 under Marcia Bordman (MB), because MB was the coordinator of the English Language Program. MB then assigned DuPree to attend Carl Schroeder’s class.

On April 24, 1990, DuPree was involved as a co-leader of a protest at Gallaudet, protesting the university’s remedial English policy. It was a “Deaf Professors Now” protest. DuPree told the Washington Times that Gallaudet’s English instructors weren’t able to teach them effectively because most of them were hearing instructors who couldn’t sign well. As part of the protest, two or three hundred students boycotted the English Placement Test.

In May, at the end of the Spring semester, Carl Schroeder reported to MB that, technically, DuPree received an “F” grade for the class (to a large extent for missing too many classes and assignments), but that MB needed to bear in mind that DuPree successfully passed all four parts of the English Placement Test, and therefore, according to a statement in the handbook, he should qualify to receive an “A” grade.

Carl Schroeder never discussed the issue of the statement in the handbook with DuPree, but Schroeder told DuPree that technically MB was listed as the instructor of the course and that MB assigned him (DuPree) to the class (Carl Schroeder’s class).

In late May or early June of 1990, when DuPree discovered on his own that (according to the English Language Program student handbook) he qualified to receive an “A” if all four parts of EPT were passed, DuPree approached Carl Schroeder. Schroeder went to look for MB but couldn’t find MB. Nancy Kensicki (NK, the English Department chair) was not there, either. The English Department was almost empty, so Schroeder decided to check with Robert “Skip” Williams, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Carl Schroeder and Williams agreed to change DuPree’s grade to an Incomplete so that the Department could look at the student handbook. When MB discovered that DuPree’s grade was changed to an Incomplete, MB became apoplectic and then decided to change DuPree’s grade back to an “F”.

NK informed Carl Schroeder that MB wanted to fire Schroeder, or have Schroeder be fired, but couldn’t find a way to do it. NK then pushed Carl Schroeder out of the English Language Program and transferred him to the Freshmen/Sophomore Program where he taught college composition for the next two years.

At some point during the summer, after considering the issue of the statement in the handbook, MB reversed the decision and changed DuPree’s grade back to an Incomplete.

In approximately September 1990, DuPree finished writing his essays that Carl Schroeder requested and turned them in to Schroeder. Schroeder gave the essays to MB. MB evaluated the essays and found them unacceptable. MB then changed DuPree’s Incomplete grade back to an “F” (the third time that MB changed his grade).

DuPree complained about the “F” grade and NK attempted to compromise on the issue and keep everything cool by changing his grade to a “D”. This was the fifth time his grade had been changed overall — once by Skip Williams from “F” to Incomplete, three times by MB, and once by NK.

DuPree still insisted that (according to the handbook) he deserved an “A” grade, but that he would accept a “C” grade. He needed a “C” grade in order to receive money from Vocational Rehabilitation.

NK refused to change his “D” grade to a “C”.

DuPree then withdrew from all his classes (in approximately early October 1990.)

Carl Schroeder attempted to discuss the issue with NK, MB, and Diane O’Connor (DO, the EPT coordinator), however each of those three people refused to speak with Schroeder about the matter.

On Friday, November 9, 1990, DuPree met with Carl Schroeder in the morning and Schroeder explained to him that he (Schroeder) had no authority to change the “D” grade to anything else. DuPree then went to NK’s office, only to discover that NK was scheduled to return at 1:00 pm. DuPree then returned to Schroeder’s office and said he would try to catch NK after NK’s class was finished that afternoon.

Before Carl Schroeder left for home at 12 noon, he stopped by the English Department to check his mailbox. Schroeder ran into NK and told NK that DuPree was not satisfied with the “D” grade and that DuPree would come to see NK later that afternoon. NK became furious and declared an intention to alert the campus police about DuPree.

Carl Schroeder then went to pick up his child and his child’s friend from the Day Care Center and they all spent the entire afternoon off campus.

Shortly after 3:00 pm, DuPree went back to the Hall Memorial Building to speak with NK, the department chair (while Carl Schroeder was off campus).

At some point during the meeting, NK called the campus police (DOSS) and two officers appeared in the English Department office. The campus police officers ordered DuPree to leave the campus and they followed DuPree when he left the English Department office.

Previous to the meeting, DuPree had asked his wife to wait with two of their children in the Ely Center and that he would return after his meeting with NK.

The officers continued to follow DuPree as he turned to enter the side entrance of the Ely Center. DuPree signed to them: “leave, leave . . . . I will leave,” indicating that he was complying with the demand that he leave the campus, but the officers did not understand him and they did not understand that he was in the process of leaving by picking up his wife and kids at the Ely Center.

The officers later claimed that DuPree shoved one of them and that they were afraid that he would throw them down the stairs.

Six more campus police arrived, eventually making a total of eight on the scene. Two of them were new officers who did not even have uniforms.

One of the campus police officers put an illegal chokehold on DuPree. There were multiple officers piled on top of DuPree and it was difficult to even see him under the pile of officers.

The chokehold had been outlawed in the District of Columbia since 1984. It rendered people unconscious by cutting off the air supply to their lungs.

Students at the scene saw DuPree signing that he couldn’t breathe and they attempted to communicate that to the officers, but the officers didn’t understand and they continued the chokehold.

A bone was broken in DuPree’s neck and he suffocated to death.

By about 5:30 p.m., Carl Schroeder received a TDD call from his wife, who said that he needed to call the campus police immediately regarding DuPree. Schroeder’s wife told him that DuPree had died, but didn’t explain how he had died.

Schroeder then called the campus police via TDD. They asked if Schroeder could come to Gallaudet to make a statement about DuPree. When he arrived there, Schroeder saw Paul Kelly together with campus police chief Bernard Holt. (Paul Kelly had been Vice President of the Administration & Finance division at Gallaudet for two years, since Gallaudet President I. King Jordan, Kelly’s personal friend, selected him for promotion to the position in 1988.) Both Kelly and Holt asked Carl Schroeder when the last time was that he saw DuPree. Schroeder told them it was about 10:30 that morning. They seemed upset and asked if Schroeder saw him that afternoon.

Schroeder explained that he picked up his child and his child’s friend from the Day Care Center at noon and they were off campus for the rest of the day. Holt asked Schroeder if he knew what happened to DuPree, and Schroeder said that his wife had said on the TDD that DuPree died, but that he didn’t know what caused it. Neither Paul Kelly, nor Bernard Holt told Schroeder what happened to DuPree.

Per Paul Kelly’s and Bernard Holt’s insistence, Carl Schroeder wrote a statement saying that DuPree stopped by his (Schroeder’s) office that morning to talk about his final grade and that the meeting ended with DuPree intending to see NK about the matter. Schroeder learned later, over that weekend, that Holt was involved in wrestling/restraining DuPree and that DuPree had suffocated.

The next day on November 10, 1990, Muriel Strassler (MS), director of Gallaudet PR, told multiple lies to the Washington Post reporter, claiming (as the Post indirectly quoted MS as saying) that the “...incident began Friday afternoon when Dupree and a former teacher got into an argument. The teacher summoned campus security and asked that Dupree be removed...” MS may have been partly motivated by a professional conflict that MS had with Schroeder, because MS disliked American Sign Language.

Carl DuPree and Carl Schroeder never, ever argued with each other. DuPree often stopped by Schroeder’s office to talk, which was sometimes bothersome, but they never argued. DuPree was always respectful toward Schroeder. Schroeder’s impression was that DuPree understood that he registered under MB’s name as the instructor and that he had to deal with the English Department about his grade. Schroeder harbored no hostile feelings toward DuPree. During the upcoming trial, Schroeder was asked if he was ever afraid of DuPree, and Schroeder said no. Schroeder was asked again in other words if he ever felt intimidated by him and Schroeder said no.

The death was ruled a homicide and four DOSS officers were charged by a grand jury in August 1991 with involuntary manslaughter.

The charges against one the four defendants, James R. Rossi, age 35 at the time of the indictment, were dropped in the middle of the three-week-long trial.

The prosecution at the trial never identified a specific DOSS officer as being the officer who placed the chokehold on DuPree.

The prosecution produced students as witnesses who saw the chokehold, but a major error by an interpreter caused one of the students to lose credibility in the jurors’ eyes. That student was referring to one of the DOSS officers by using his nickname, “Spider,” but the interpreter thought the student was referring to an actual spider, and the interpreter caused the student’s testimony to seem nonsensical.

The jury acquitted the remaining three, mainly because the prosecution never identified a specific DOSS officer as being the officer who administered the chokehold. The three were: Bernard A. Holt (age 42 at the time of the indictment, Chief of DOSS); Paul C. Starke (age 30); and Steven L. Young (age 26).

After the trial, Paul Kelly gave Bernard Holt a promotion which included being head of Facilities as well as chief of campus police (DOSS), then later PK fired Holt when Holt refused to sign a memo that contained false statements about why $4 million had not been spent to hire and train new campus police officers.

At some point, Paul Kelly had hired the law firm of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey to investigate the whole incident and they wrote a report, but the administration never allowed the report to be released.

In 1992 Paul Kelly decided to make Carl Schroeder a scapegoat in the DuPree matter and get Schroeder fired.

Carl DuPree had an open and shut case against the English Department. The handbook said he deserved an “A” grade because he passed all four parts of the placement test. Carl Schroeder recommended to MB that he be given an “A”, due to the rule in the handbook, even though his coursework was deficient.

At the time DuPree organized this protest in April 1990 he didn’t know about the rule in the handbook. When he found out about it during the summer, he approached Schroeder. Schroeder then approached Skip Williams, the dean, who agreed that the matter needed attention.

Obviously, MB, the head of the English Language Program, was retaliating against DuPree because of his instigation of the protest only a few weeks earlier (which got major coverage in the local press and probably damaged MB’s career) and MB changed his grade back to an “F” — which the rules of the handbook said he didn’t deserve — then MB reversed it back to Incomplete, realizing the error. Then later during the fall, MB deliberately ignored the rule in the handbook and gave him an “F” for the class after he turned in his work to make up the incomplete.

This was a horrible travesty of justice. DuPree did not “stress out the system.” The English Department chair, NK, had already planned to call the campus police three hours before DuPree came to meet NK on November 9, 1990. Obviously, it wasn’t anything he said or did during the meeting which was the actual, or underlying reason for summoning campus police, and then DuPree attempted to tell the campus police that he was indeed leaving the campus, just as they required. He needed to pick up his wife and kids on the way out. But they were unable to understand him and they ended up killing him as a result.

After this, Paul Kelly got involved and decided to put the blame on Schroeder. Carl Schroeder was actually completely blameless and had handled the situation in a very proper manner the whole way through. MB, NK and DO refused to speak with Carl Schroeder about DuPree’s grade.

Paul Kelly then orchestrated a dishonest plan (which almost certainly violated employment law) to get Carl Schroeder fired. That accomplished two goals, because, since Schroeder was a highly effective teacher and strong advocate of ASL and Deaf culture, Paul Kelly would have perceived Schroeder to be a political stumbling block to the continued acquisition of power that he was imposing on Gallaudet.

The plan was so blatantly wrong that even Jordan’s close personal friend, Skip Williams (the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences) refused to go along with it. They had to break the proper hierarchy and get Howard Busby, the Dean of Students, to fire him.

This is just one blatant example of how Paul Kelly was scheming behind the scenes to push through his personal agenda of power grabbing — by his characteristic method of pushing faux decentralization plans,1,2 in combination with orchestrating repeated instances of sham reorganizational plans, which were intended to displace political rivals and others, while soliciting the involvement of neoliberalist pseudo-intellectuals3 and propagandists masquerading as historians4 — all the while co-opting and corrupting Jordan in the process. Hypothetically, if firing Carl Schroeder had actually been the right thing to do, then Jordan could have easily persuaded Skip Williams to fire him, but Williams balked and he refused to order NK to fire Carl Schroeder.

To further compound the injustice, Congress allocated $4 million to hire and train new campus police officers and the Jordan/Kelly administration received the money and then did not use it as Congress intended, thus actually endangering more students’ lives.

The ultimate, underlying cause of Carl DuPree’s death involved internal Gallaudet politics and Paul Kelly’s (successful) attempt to grab power and play power-politics. This underlying managerial ethos (or rather, “anti-ethos”), that was heightened after Paul Kelly’s ascension to the Gallaudet A&F Vice Presidency in 1988, became so pronounced as it grew unchecked from year to year after the Gallaudet campus police killed Carl DuPree that the faculty even gave it a name: “Management By Intimidation,” referring to it by the acronym “M.B.I.”5 The student protesters picked up on the usage of this term, too, by the time of the Unity for Gallaudet protest in 2006, with many of them connecting the dots and realizing that Paul Kelly was functioning to exacerbate and perpetuate the longstanding “plantation mentality” that had existed among members of the board of trustees for decades, or longer.6

Paul Kelly was the person who encouraged his close friend, King Jordan to apply for the presidency in 1988. Jordan mentioned during his resignation speech in 2005 that Kelly helped him before he applied to become president.7

In this respect, Jordan was actually Paul Kelly’s dupe, and this is an extreme example of a hearing person scheming and maneuvering behind the scenes and exploiting Deaf people — actually doing things that cause Deaf people to be killed.

Paul Kelly, presumably, advised Jordan or concurred with Jordan’s choice of Jane Fernandes to be hired as vice president of pre-college programs in 1995. Jane Fernandes (née Kelleher) had been on the Gallaudet campus and associated with Gallaudet since 1987, and had married James Fernandes, who himself had been a friend of both Jordan and Kelly for some years before that. They both, then, worked in Hawaii from 1988 to 1995, where Jane became head administrator of the Hawaii Center for the Deaf. They met Joseph Mesa in Hawaii, who later enrolled in the high school on the Gallaudet campus, then later was admitted to Gallaudet University, where he lived in the dorms and murdered two classmates. (See also THIS ARTICLE.)

Paul Kelly surely knew that Jane Fernandes was Joseph Mesa’s close mentor and protector and that Jane Fernandes surely contributed in Mesa developing aberrant behavior, and surely must have acted, along with Jordan, to cover up the issue.

Rather than doing the right thing, Paul Kelly supported Fernandes’ elevation to the presidency — not only putting a psychologically disturbed pseudo-intellectual into the role of president (for his own political gain), but also causing a backlash which necessitated dozens of students heroically putting their lives at risk, during the Unity for Gallaudet protest in 2006, in order to rectify the situation and cause justice to be done. And then still Kelly fought back as if he were in an actual war, rounding up Physical Plant Department (PPD) personnel and campus police officers (DPS) who threw objects at protesters’ tents and scooped up the tents with a front-end loader/bulldozer (per objective third-party journalists’ reporting) without first looking inside to see if any students were in the tents.

The shock waves that spread all throughout the US and Canadian Deaf Community after the Gallaudet campus police killed protest leader Carl DuPree, and the negative fallout caused, will never be erased or healed as long as Paul Kelly works at Gallaudet.

True healing cannot take place until the source and cause of the disease is isolated and removed.


1. University of Maryland, College Park, Office of Human Relations Programs; and the Association of American Colleges and Universities. (1998). Diversity Blueprint: A Planning Manual for Colleges and Universities. Washington, DC: Association of American College and Universities.

2. Hernandez, Arelis. (2010). A Crack in the Foundation? Diverse Issues in Higher Education (February 4, 2010). Fairfax, VA: Cox, Matthews, and Associates, Inc.

3. Cf. Bauman (1998), p. iii.

4. See:, per the related mention of the article series in the commentary linked by the “propagandists masquerading as historians” hyperlink.

5. Paul Kelly showed consciousness of guilt on the issue by having one of the (faux-)auditors working under him at Gallaudet co-write an article on the topic in the summer of 2006, when, as part of a grotesque display of blatant MBI, he attempted to turn the tables on the faculty (and students) by using the faculty’s own anti-MBI rhetoric as a weapon against them. The article (page 5) also includes a thinly veiled reference to the faculty supposedly being a tyrannical majority (Warigon, 2006, p. 5). In this we see Paul Kelly flying his anti-Academy, anti-intellectual credentials high, as part of the everything-a-mere-shade-of-gray-there-is-no-truth-or-justice-in-the-world-I-just-want-to-get-my-piece-of-the-pie nature of his character and personal philosophy. Later, that same (faux-)auditor violated District of Columbia employment law in 2007 at Gallaudet, when he released an employee’s personnel and medical history records to the public. He was then, as a part of an apparent double cross, fired by Paul Kelly on June 6, 2007 for doing so.

6. In fact, it is possible, or even probable, that the co-founder of Gallaudet, Amos Kendall, used slaves to build the mansion on what later became Gallaudet property, and, though Kendall possibly didn’t own slaves while living there (but possibly did) and presumably did little or no farming on the property, it might be accurate to say in some sense that Gallaudet (the school that later added a collegiate department that later changed its name to Gallaudet) was at one point in time part of, or adjoined to, an actual plantation. Slavery was, in fact, practiced in the District of Columbia up until April 1862, when the boarding school that is part of the first years of the history of Gallaudet University was almost five years old. The author of a scholarly book about Kendall, when contacted, mentioned that wealthy residents of the District of Columbia at the time commonly used slaves, and Kendall, though he grew up in the North, was part of this social milieu.

7. In his retirement speech, given on September 1, 2005, Jordan stated (emphasis in the original): “Paul Kelly helped me before I was president. Paul tutored me on financial issues and budget issues, and without his help and guidance during that application process, I know that I would never have become a finalist for the position. Then after that, during my presidency, he’s been a wonderful friend and supporter. Thank you, Paul Kelly for all you’ve done for me. Thank you.”


Bauman, Humphrey-Dirksen Lippmann. (1998). American Sign Language as a medium for poetry: A comparative poetics of sign, speech and writing in twentieth-century American poetry. PhD dissertation, State University of New York at Binghamton.

Warigon, Slemo D. and Betsy Bowers. (2006). Impact of Management by Intimidation on Human Capital: Is It Destroying Your Organization? College & University Auditor. Vol. 50, No. 2 (Summer 2006), pp. 5-10.


AND (commentaries by Carl Schroeder’s protégé, Jason Tozier):

ASL translation titled: “Carl DuPree and Carl Schroeder: Heroes of Deaf Culture” (translated by Jason Tozier):

AND (People of the Eye):

George Veditz: The Hohenstaufen Era of German Literature

Delivered By G.W. Veditz , at the Presentation Day Exercises of the National Deaf-Mute College , Wednesday, May 7th, 1884. In the period f...

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