Gallaudet University’s Board of Trustees is starting the process of looking for a new president again. Only this time, members are preceding cautiously. The selection of Jane Fernandes two years ago lead to campus protests. Eventually, her nomination was withdrawn. But even after the controversy died down, the school faced accreditation problems and falling enrollment.
This time around, a series of town halls meetings and gatherings with alumni groups will pepper the presidential selection process. Finalists will meet with students, faculty and staff on campus next fall. Interim President Robert Davila will then step down at the end of the year, making way for the new Gallaudet leader.
Here’s the make up of the search committee: Seven of the 11 members are deaf, seven are women, five are people of color, four are trustees. There is an administrator, an undergrad professor, a graduate school professor, and an undergraduate student. The fact there is no graduate student on the committee was not lost on the students. Many of them showed up at last week’s campus town hall meeting with T-shirts of hands signing graduate student. In response, the board has agreed to put a graduate student on the search committee.