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CSCDHH GA Newsletter - March 1998 Issue

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NOTE: This is an abbreviated version of the CSCDHH GA Newsletter. Articles not included have the article title in Italics. To get the full text of the newsletter, become a member of CSCDHH. Thank you!!

Community Service Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
1609 19th Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98122-2848
(206) 322-4996 V/TTY
(206) 720-3251 FAX
Interpreter Referral Service (206) 322-5551 V/TTY

March 1998 - Vol. 17, No. 3

Deaf President Now! 10th Anniversary

The Deaf President Now! movement reached many different people in many different way, including changing the way we deaf look at ourselves. This month, CSCDHH celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Deaf President Now! movement.

Deaf President Now! from Gallaudet University

Ten years ago, Gallaudet University was the site of a student-led protest that today is called Deaf President Now, or simply, DPN. But DPN was more than a protest. It also was a unique coming together of Gallaudet students, faculty and staff with the national deaf community-all bound by clear and defined goals. The DPN supporters believed that the time had come for a deaf person to run the world's only university for deaf and hard of hearing students. When this didn't happen, the result was a protest whose effects are still reverberating around the world today.

DPN was remarkable not only for its clear sense of purpose, cohesiveness, speed, and depth of feeling, but also for its ability to remove the barriers and erase the lines that previously separated the deaf and hearing communities. In addition, it raised the nation's consciousness of the rights and abilities of deaf and hard of hearing people.

Although the United States believed enough in deaf peoples' abilities to establish Gallaudet University in 1864, prejudices and discrimination against deaf and hard of hearing people persisted. By 1988, no one at Gallaudet doubted the ability of deaf people to do whatever they wanted to do. The big question was whether or not the administration and Board ofTrustees really believed the same thing.

When the Board announced Sunday night March 6, 1988 that the next president would not be deaf, the deaf students protested and made all the difference in the world. There is no simple answer as to why this protest succeeded, and why it did so fast. However, here are some of the factors that may have contributed to the success of the protest:

This article was summarized from the Gallaudet web site. For more information, go to


Deaf President Now! Chronology from Gallaudet University

In the beginning

The Board of Trustees established a committee to begin the search for a new president after Dr. Jerry C. Lee resigned at the end of 1987. On February 28, 1988, the committee announced the finalists: Dr. Harvey Corson, a deaf man serving as the superintendent of the Louisiana School for the Deaf; Dr. I. King Jordan, a deaf man who was currently the dean of the University's College of Arts and Sciences; and Dr. Elisabeth Zinser, a hearing woman and assistant chancellor of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Deaf advocacy groups and organizations made it clear to the Board that they wanted the next president of Gallaudet University to be deaf.

As the momentum for a deaf president grew, letters of endorsement flooded in. Many people, including Vice-President George Bush, Senators Bob Dole and Civil Rights activist Jesse Jackson, supported the idea. The mainstream media had yet to latch on to the cause, and strangely enough, neither did the students. But that would change. March 1, 1988 was a crucial date in the history of DPN. It was the day of the first fully organized rally, the event that inspired many students to join the movement. For some, it was the first time they had even learned what the protest was all about and what it would mean for them to have a deaf president. In their flyers, organizers likened the protest to a civil rights movement, drawing parallels between the deaf community and other minority groups.

In the next few days, the protest started building up.

Day 1

6:30pm, an hour and a half earlier than expected, the Board of Trustees put out an announcement that Zinser had become the new President of Gallaudet. The students, in anger and disbelief, marched to the Board meeting to demand an explanation. Chaos soon broke out. Gallaudet Board of Trustees Chair Spilman agreed to come to the campus the next afternoon to discuss the issues further.

Day 2

Students met throughout the night debating what to do next. In the morning, they blocked the way onto as well as off the campus. Throughout the morning, the campus was alive with activity. In addition to impromptu speeches and rallies, protest leaders were meeting to formalize their demands:

1. Zinser must resign and a deaf president selected.

2. Spilman must resign from the Board

3. The percentage of deaf members on the Board of Trustees must be increased to at least 51%

4. There must be no reprisals against any of the protesters.

The protesters met with Spilman, who told the group that the Board rejected the four demands. Almost everyone walked out of the meeting. The protesters then marched to the U.S. Capitol Building.

Day 3

The University gates were re-opened and people were allowed to come and go. The students boycotted classes and attended rallies and speeches instead. At the same time, the faculty convened a meeting to discuss among themselves what to do. By this time, four students had emerged as leader of the protest: Bridgetta Bourne, Jerry Covell, Greg Hlibok and Tim Rarus. The Alumni House became the headquarters for the protest and the Deaf President Now Council. Rallies and speeches continued throughout the day eventually reaching national television, programs and newspapers.

Day 4

Elisabeth Zinser began her presidency early and hoped that her presence would help bring the protest to close. Meanwhile, many congressmen and leaders met with the deaf students to help them win their four demands. The Board refused to listen. That night Hlibok, Zinser, and deaf actress Marlee Matlin were interviewed by Ted Koppel on ABC's Nightline.

Day 5

Greg Hlibok appeared on Good Morning America. Rallies were held all day. Moral and monetary support continued to flow in from a variety of sources. Students from NTID and other deaf schools arrived to participate in the strike. I. King Jordan retracted his support for the Board and fully supported the four demands set forth by the students. That night, Zinser announced her resignation.

Day 6

With three and a half demands left, the deaf students marched to the Capitol again, where a variety of people gave speeches. At 7pm, there was another rally in the Field House.

Day 7

Saturday was a day of rest. Many people attended afternoon barbecues and all-day arts festivals.

Day 8

The Board of Trustees members met all day to decide what to do. By the evening, Jane Spilman announced in her last press conference that she had resigned, Phil Bravin would be the next chair of the Board of Trustees, a taskforce would be set up to determine a way to achieve 51% deaf majority on the Board, no reprisals, and Dr. I. King Jordan would be named the eighth president and first deaf president of Gallaudet University.

It was all over. In eight emotional, action-packed days it was over….

This article was summarized from the Gallaudet web site. For more information, go to

Where were you at the time of DPN? How did it affect you? How do you feel DPN changed Deaf Life? Send your comments to CSCDHH by fax, mail or e-mail.

CSCDHH Upcoming Events


Letter from the Director

Rob Roth

Deaf President Now

It's hard to believe that it is the tenth anniversary of the Deaf President Now (DPN) movement. This was a watershed event in Deaf history. An otherwise normal event, choosing a new leader for a university, mushroomed into an international media miracle. For the new president being chosen was for Gallaudet University, the nation's (indeed, the world's) only liberal arts college specifically for the deaf. In its over 100-year history, it never had a president that reflected the student body and a large percentage of the faculty. When the chair of Gallaudet's Board of Directors at that time said that the deaf were not ready to govern themselves, this inflamed the passions of deaf people all over the world. Its impact affected the community and many individual deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing individuals. Some of their stories you will read in this issue.

The Deaf President Now movement's greatest legacy was that it proclaimed that deaf people can and will take control of their destiny. We were tired of well-meaning hearing persons making decisions for us. We were tired of not having role models that were Deaf. We were tired of boards of non-profit agencies serving the deaf not having a majority of deaf people on the board, or even, in many cases, not even having a deaf, deaf-blind or hard of hearing person on their board! We were mad as hell, and we did not want to be oppressed anymore!

I. King Jordan, the first deaf president of Gallaudet, is still at the helm ten years later. His stewardship has ably proved that a Deaf person can lead a major university. Robert Davila, who is Deaf and Hispanic, later assumed the responsibilities for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), the world's only technical college for the deaf. Schools for the deaf started hiring deaf superintendents (our own Larry Petersen is the acting superintendent of Washington School for the Deaf).

Non-profit agencies serving the deaf began to institutionalize policies that called for a majority of its directors reflect the community the agency serves (of the 15 members of the CSCDHH Board of Trustees, 11 are deaf or hard of hearing, for a majority of 73%; in the past, we have had deaf-blind persons on the board).

Employment of the deaf changed drastically. Before DPN, many deaf persons were in jobs traditionally reserved for the deaf, like newspaper printing jobs. Now, we have deaf lawyers (congratulations, Mike Izak!), doctors, business owners (check out the Golden Gondola, an Italian restaurant in Pt. Orchard, owned by Deaf husband and wife team, the McCays; and the Ragin' Cajun, a Cajun food restaurant owned by Danny Delcambre, a Deaf-Blind person), accountants, managers and many other professions. We have a deaf major league baseball player, Curtis Pride. We are fortunate in Seattle to have executive directors of agencies serving the deaf population that are Deaf themselves (Marilyn Smith of Abused Deaf Women's Advocacy Services, and yours truly). True, many, many deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing people are still unemployed and under-employed, but it is very different from ten years ago.

Attitudes have changed significantly, too. As deaf people move into, and move up, to more and more jobs, as we enter training programs, colleges and graduate schools, we become more visible. People now see us as smart and capable persons. The old phrase, "deaf and dumb" has faded away.

We should always remember Deaf President Now! and the lessons it has taught us and millions of people all over the world.

New Phone Numbers

CSCDHH now has new TTY direct phone numbers and our own voice and TTY mail systems. Having direct TTY lines for CSCDHH and the Interpreter Referral Service will improve service for TTY callers. When we are not able to answer the phone at our main number, you will be able to transfer to the person you want, or leave a detailed message in voice or TTY. As with any new equipment, there will be a shake-down transition period. If you encounter problems, please let us know so that we can correct it. If necessary, fax us or Email us at

CSCDHH phone numbers are:

206/ 322-4996 V
206/ 568-1234 TTY
206/ 568-1230 FAX

Interpreter Referral Service phone numbers are:

206/ 322-5551 V
206/ 568-1221 TTY
206/ 568-1230 FAX

GA Monthly Themes

Beginning with this month's Deaf President Now theme, the GA newsletter will have themes celebrating different aspects of Deaf life and community. We invite you to join as a volunteer to help Branden Huxtable, the GA Editor, research different themes for publication in later issues. These themes include Deaf art, theater, history, schools, captioning, etc. Give me a call at 206/322-4996 V or 206/568-1234 TTY.

Good Luck

We congratulate Dave Morrison, who worked for a brief time in the Interpreter Referral Service, on his new job in Kentucky, and wish him the best of luck.

Drama Festival in April and May

Seattle Children's Theatre presents not the sixth, but the seventh Deaf Kids Drama Festival. Performances will be 7:00 pm on Wednesdays, April 29 and May 6 in the Charlotte Martin Theatre at Seattle Center.

The festival is produced by the Deaf Kids Drama Program at Seattle Children's Theatre. Performing are Deaf students from Birney Elementary School in Tacoma, Mountain View Middle and Olympic View Elementary School in Bremerton, and Tyee High School in SeaTac. Program director Billy Seago and theatre arts instructor Dawn Stoyanoff will present each of the short plays they directed.

Tickets cost $7 for adults, and $4 for children, students and seniors. Call (206) 441-3322 (V/TTY) for reservations.

What's Happening

Congratulations To PIP

The Hearing, Speech & Deafness Center is proud to announce that its Parent Infant Program has been selected to participate in the 1998 Partners for Progress National Forum on Family Involvement. The forum is sponsored by Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., and will be focusing on improving education for deaf and hard of hearing students. Seven model programs were selected from throughout the United States.

The 1998 Partners for Progress National Forum on Family Involvement brings together professional and parents to share strategies and materials that benefit families and their children, and to identify future directions in program development and research. The focus of the forum is on the special needs of families who do not speak English, are members of a minority group, live in rural areas, or have deaf or hard of hearing children with additional disabilities or low academic achievement.

Congratulations to PIP, another valuable resource in our Seattle community!

KODA Corner by Holly Parker Jensen

We are pleased to announced that on April 26, 1998, we will be celebrating our first annual "Mother Father Deaf" Day. At the 1994 Children of Deaf Adults International Conference, the members unanimously passed a resolution proclaiming that Mother Father Deaf Day shall be established and celebrated annually to honor their parents for the gifts of language and culture that they had given them. The first official observance was in 1996.

There is no set way to celebrate this occasion. This day reflects our children's bicultural experience. In the hearing culture, those special days (Mother's Day and Father's Day) are usually quiet family affairs. But, in the Deaf culture, most celebrations tend to be communal. We invite you to join us and celebrate this special day. More information will be given out at a later date.

If you have any suggestions or questions, please contact Mike Buckman at (253) 432-3796 or e-mail at


About Town


Beyond Silence Gets Oscar Nod

The German movie Beyond Silence with Howie Seago and deaf French actress Emmanuelle Laborit has been nominated in the Oscars for Best Foreign Film. Will it win? Tune in March 23rd and find out.

KOMO Expands News Program Captioning

As of February 2, KOMO channel 4 has expanded the number of news shows captioned. KOMO provides real-time captioning for the following newscasts:

Monday through Friday, 5pm to 6pm, 6:30pm to 7pm, and 11pm to 11:30pm; Saturday, 5pm to 6pm and 11pm to 11:30pm; and Sunday, 9am to 11am, 5pm to 5:30pm, and 11pm to 11:30pm.

Be sure to thank KOMO for their efforts.

Rear Window Captioning by Elizabeth Ralston

How often have you gone to see a movie and wished it were captioned? A new type of technology is now being experimented in theaters all over the United States. It is called the Rear Window Captioning (RWC).

I experienced this in December when I went to see Titanic in a Los Angeles theater. I was quite excited, not only because the subject was so fascinating, it was my first experience seeing a captioned movie in the theater. The captions are different from open captions or subtitles on foreign films because they are visible only to the people who use the reflector panel. The panel is about 12 inches by 3 inches and it functions very much like a car's rear view mirror (hence the name of the system, "rear window captioning").

I placed the panel in the soft drink holder, where it fit quite snugly. I adjusted it so that I could see the test captions ("Welcome to Rear Window Captioning") which were located behind me, in the rear of the theater, up high on the wall.

As Titanic began, I eagerly awaited the first captions to come on my reflector panel. Soon there were words appearing on my panel. It struck me then, how much dialogue I usually missed from going to movies without these captions. It was really an incredible feeling, to sit there and watch this movie and being able to understand everything that was happening.

Have you experienced this type of technology? Would you like to see it in the theaters? I would like to get this system set up in movie theaters in Seattle, but I need your help! You can help by writing a letter of support and sending it to me at the address below. In your letter, please indicate:

A. Your interest in this technology being used in Seattle's theaters (if you have used it before, please describe your experience with it)

B. How it would benefit you and others

Please send letters to Elizabeth Ralston 650 NW 84th Street, Seattle, WA 98117, e-mail ESRALSTON@AOL.COM or phone (206) 706-7607 (TTY).

Raffle, Frequent Flier Miles and Fund Drive

The American Association of the Deaf-Blind (AADB) hosts bi-annual conferences throughout the United States. Besides meetings, in which current issues concerning deaf-blind people are discussed, it is also a big social event. Most deaf-blind are isolated as a result of mobility and communication barriers; this week-long conference represents the wonderful possiblity of a week free of isolation and communication or mobility barriers. This is possible because of a large corps of volunteers called SSPs (support service providers or interpreter/guides).

However, most deaf-blind are limited financially and cannot afford airfare to the conference or provide funds for the conference itself. There are not enough skilled SSPs in any one location to support a conference of this size in addition to giving up pay / vacation time for a week. Most SSPs are asked to pay their own way to the convention. The AADB itself is financially burdened by committing to pay for the room and board for the SSPs.

To help lighten the financial burden, American Sign Language Interpreting School of Seattle (ASLIS) is sponsoring a drive, chaired by Tim Cook, to help pay airfares to Connecticut (where the next AADB conference will be held this coming June) for pairs of deaf-blind people and SSPs. The more successful we are, the more deaf-blind people and SSPs will be able to attend the convention.

You can help by: 1) joining the committee; 2) donating any frequent flier miles you may have accumulated; 3) sending a financial donation to ASLIS (PO Box 31468, Seattle, WA 98103); or buying raffle tickets. This will literally help us get off the ground.

For more information, call Tim Cook at (206) 323-3132 (TTY) or e-mail


Community Announcements

The Hearing Speech & Deafness Center is now available to serve you until 7:00 pm each Wednesday, in addition to our regular 8:30 am to 5:00 pm weekday hours. The "Beyond Hearing Aids" store, with assistive signaling and listening devices, is open to walk-ins until 7:00 pm. Audiology and Speech Pathology services are available by appointment during these extended hours.

The Hearing, Speech & Deafness Center (HSDC) will once again offer evening Conversational American Sign Language Classes. Individual rate for one night (nine weeks) is $80.00. Family rate for both parents with one or two children over 10 years old is $190.00. Classes are usually scheduled on Tuesdays or Thursdays from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. ASL I and ASL II will be offered each quarter. ASL III will be offered in Spring quarter. Please call HSDC at (206) 323-5770 (V/TTY) to add your name and address to our mailing list. We will send you additional information and an application form.

The Interpreter Referral Service at CSCDHH is looking for a full-time referral specialist, or several part-time people to work as a part of a dynamic team providing interpreter placement in the greater Seattle area. Work in a deaf multi-service agency. Full or partial benefits are available. Please call Paul Bert at (206) 322-5551 (V/TTY).

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