Yo Prez Davila, We’re Waiting!

It has been almost 2 weeks now since the Deaf Blind students and alumni of Gallaudet University sent out a letter inviting President Davila and his team to meet with us on March 30th concerning issues of the past, the present and the future.

And we have yet to hear from him, or Jay Innes and Richard Lytle, Assistants to the President.

We got a confirmation letter from greatideas@gallaudet.edu that they recieved our email but was forwarded to the Assistants to the President.

I am not going to jump the gun and accuse President Davila of ignorance, however, I will write him another email expressing my concern of lack of response on his part. And I’m going to make sure the Assistant to the President for Diversity, Darian Burwell gets it. If we cannot see Davila, then Burwell will have to do.

What will it take for him to listen to us? We might not be racially-focused or mired in audism, but we are the forgotten minority of the Deafhood community.

If you read this and know how to give the new President a nudge, please do so.

Christine Roschaert

Deaf Blind for Gallaudet.

This entry was posted in Advocacy, Education & Training, Events, Organizations, Rants. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Yo Prez Davila, We’re Waiting!

  1. Peachlady says:

    Maybe he is on “vacation”

  2. Andrea says:

    Whenever you deal with ANY bureaucratic system, you have to expect that any correspondence you send will NOT get an instant response. It takes time for an office to process correspondence, especially when they also have a large backlog of other correspondence to deal with. Two weeks is not that long when dealing with a bureaucracy.

    I admit I’m no expert about how correspondence works there. But I’m guessing that probably they get hundreds, if not thousands, of letters each DAY. Even the important ones can’t necessarily get a personal, immediate response from Davila under such conditions. (MAYBE a personal response. MAYBE even an immediate response. But not necessarily both at the same time.) Someone on the staff (or so I assume) has to look at each letter and decide which ones Davila should read personally and which should simply be summarized to him. Then someone has to decide how to respond (not necessarily Davila by his own hand, but possibly a staff member on his behalf). Then someone else will probably have to approve that response. Depending on the topic of the letter, they might even need to consult one or more other offices on campus for their input as well (for example, maybe someone there will decide that they should have more information on hand about what is already being done to address the needs of deafblind students before they respond–if so, that would add more time to the process). At some point, Davila may sign off on the response.

    Each time a new person has to look at it, that adds to the response time (because, remember, everyone is going to be juggling dozens of other tasks at the same time, so it may sit on their desk a while before they get to it). Even if things are operating smoothly, it could still take a few days just to go from one person in the office to another person.

    That said, it wouldn’t hurt to send a follow up email to inquire the “status” of your correspondence and when you might be able to expect a response. After only two weeks, I, personally, wouldn’t phrase it as “concern” for his “lack of response.” I think that would simply demonstrate ignorance about how correspondence is processed in offices like this and would come across as unduly impatient. I would save that for maybe the third contact, maybe about a month or two after the first contact.

    (Of course, I’m not you and you’re not me. And I don’t pretend to be an expert on how correspondence tracking works in offices like this, except to know that it’s not as simple and straightforward as you seem to be envisioning it. Nor am I an expert on the best timing for this kind of advocacy.)

    But bravo for you in pushing forward on this.

    If you think it would help, I’d be happy to send them an email of my own to inquire when and whether they plan to respond to your correspondence. Maybe if several of us “outsider” allies did that, it might help create that “nudge” you’re looking for.

  3. SB says:

    HI there.. Yes Im still waiting for Bob’s Vlogs to come on every Tuesday and seem he is very busy as I can imagine that but I do hope he will do soon as Im sure he is aware of that.
    Cant wait to see Bob’s vlogs again

  4. Jennifer Keener says:

    Christine, I thought Chad already discussed with you about publishing letters with his “signature” but not his approval. I am dismayed to see yet another one. Shame on you for using others to push your own personal grudge match!

  5. Jennifer Keener says:

    To add: you get more with honey than vinegar. Keep that in mind as you strategize for more deafblind access. Its good to see this. Why don’t you run for the BOT if you’ve got such a passion? Bet you could get a hell of a lot more accomplished that way than writing letters and signing people’s names without their permission. Tsk.

  6. hey watch it, jennifer.
    chad and i talked about it… not that you’d know that we solved our issue.
    and “grudge match”… who are you to tell me that i’m using my own people to further my own agenda? i am encouraging gallaudet to listen… for so many years we have not been listened to. shame on you jennifer, for that attitude. tsk tsk, double tsk.

  7. and by the way, this is a blogpost, not a letter.

  8. Jennifer Keener says:

    If this is YOUR blogpost, not a copy of an actual letter, why did you sign Chad’s name? Or Laura’s or John’s? They did not write this, and to make it seem like they did is unethical.

    Chad and I have discussed this and I’m sorry Chad doesn’t have the balls to stand up to you. I do. You printed his name without his permission at the end of TWO blog entries now. Chad can write his own blog. You should not sign his name to anything anymore than I should sign your to any blog I write. I’m perfectly aware of the story, that you two talked about it when the first letter was sent, and that he told you not to post his name without his permission again. Funny how he is unaware of this second post of yours and expressed outrage when I brought it up! I live with him and he is my best friend, and I will not sit by while you use his name without his permission. His professional reputation is at stake, and I fear that this approach you have with Davila is going to come around and bite him on the ass. If he is lying to me, we will deal with that once I am aware of it. For Chad’s sake, he better not be…

    As for my attitude, it’s well known you have a personal vendetta against Fernandes and Jordan. You and I know why. You cannot honestly say that your personal experiences with them do not color your reasons for suddenly protesting on behalf of the deafblind community at Gallaudet when you really didn’t do squat to build the appropriate POLITICAL alliances with key leaders while you were there as an undergraduate. Instead you chose to bark at them and demand and yell…oh I’m sorry, ask them to listen…and you wonder why Davila doesn’t respond to you?? Why Fernandes wrote you off? Why Paul Kelly laughs at your rantings? You want to make a difference? You have to KISS BUTT at Gallaudet to get anything done. You HAVE to butter up even the people you most despise because, my dear, that is how the real world works. Deaf people have this unbelievably naive sense of idealism that unfortunately does more harm than good in the long run. These are the people who make decisions and control the money and being demanding and being a squeaky wheel might get you a temporary solution but it does not address the need for long term political alliances to get things to improve for deafblind students at Gallaudet permanently.

    I sat and watched for 3 years as Chad struggled, as the farce they call OSWD left him behind because E Palmer was too busy with his multiple responsibilities to do anything constructive for OSWD (he should resign in my opinion…he has no time to devote to OSWD and surely more could be done efficiently and intelligently with the resources he has control over, no matter how small). I dealt with the frustration my friends in wheelchairs had as they continually found themselves stuck trying to go over a freaking crack on an incline. I am on the same page as you that deafblind deserve some serious service improvements at Gallaudet, but I disagree totally with your approach. It took signing Chad’s name without his ok to finally get me to speak up…because I care about him and his professional IMAGE and job prospects which, if this letter comes off the wrong way to people, could be damaged.

    I take offense at your term “MY OWN PEOPLE”…not all deafblind are Christine. Christine is not all deafblind. Jennifer does not represent all deaf, nor do all deaf represent Jennifer. You know that more than anyone. While you seem to advocate concrete action (letters, starving yourself, whatever), I think a better route is to get in the game, sit at the same table…which does not happen when you’re barking at people. You can take or leave my (hopefully) constructive criticism and feedback. You can choose to write me off and do it your way. You can assume since I’m not deafblind I can’t possibly truly care about the plight of deafblind and others who are not quite as “abled” as the world would like but who are more than equally human. I don’t need nor want your approval. But don’t expect me to sit back when what you are doing is harming someone I care deeply about, whether or not he realizes it.

  9. Jennifer Keener says:

    Addendum: I actually have two best friends who are deafblind. One has Ushers, the other does not. Two very different types of vision loss. Why I point this out is to underline the fact that my girlfriend would be bitching at you too for your approach. Yes, a deafblind would disagree with your tactics! Are you going to admonish her for her attitude too? Or is she YOUR people while I am not? (Sighs in frustration!) Ok now I’m just being rude, and I apologize for that. I’d even delete this post but I thought it fair to you to see my thought process and gain some insight into who I am from a distance. Hopefully you will see how much I truly do give a shit about deafblind. Why else would I waste my time reading your blog when I’ve got so much going on in my life? 😉

  10. Jennifer,
    As much as I had always admired your writing style, in the past at BnB and still do, I have to tell you that your comments above have that controntational and angry tone. I understand that Chad is your best friend, and he is one of my closest friends. Unlike you, he had the respect of emailing me in private, expressing his concerns about the error of my ways, which I admit to doing so. In my previous comment last night, I falsely said that we agreed that it would be OK to publish his name – but I had misread your comments and thought it to be about the actual letter Davila sent.
    Chad has the BALLS – he just emailed me an hr ago asking me why I went ahead and puslidhed his name. That is a good leader, no doubt, because he has the dignity to talk to me in private rather than accusing me of holding grudge matches, kissing butt. You’re right, I am angry at Jordan and Fernandes – for good reason. I kissed their asses for years and it got me nowhere. I got pissed off and used the SBG to get the campus community to recognize a problem. Why should we stay silent? I have repeatedly wrote nice kissing-butt letters through the right process and they’d laugh at me and do nothing. The OSWD has been under criticism for many years and it seriously needs a facelift.
    Jennifer, instead of ATTACKING me on my own blogsite, why don’t you be a ledy and email me personally, civilly and as an adult and explain to me the error of my ways. What you said yesterday put me on my guard, I defended myself and said some things that I should have taken into consideration – for example – my people.
    You need to understand that we both are strong, stubborn women who will fight to no end for a cause we both are passionate about. Deaf Blind activism and advocacy is my passion…. I might do some things that are erroneous, but I hope that in the future, people will approach me and diplomatically discuss with me how we can solve this, instead of publicly being at war. Jennifer, you and I can be allies. But we need to agree that mistakes can be made, but harsh words will leave scars more than anything else.
    PD I have typed a public apology for Chad and I am awaiting his approval.

  11. Jennifer says:

    Small error…I didn’t accuse you of kissing butt. Quite the opposite. Your use of the SBG during your last year was on the right track. Changes like those you seek cannot be done without the support of the community. Leaning on Davila alone will not get you anywhere, which is the sole point I wish to drive home in all of this.

    Heh…Chad has balls…maybe :-). Chad emailed you after discussing things with me. I don’t know for sure if he would have done so on his own anyways, but knowing him as I do, it’s a safe bet that it’s not likely, as he does not like confrontation. Chad didn’t even KNOW about either of your postings until I told him. That is how sneaky this whole thing was and it’s why I called you on it. You made a mistake, the SAME mistake, not once, but twice, Christine. Chad made it pretty clear the first time why using his name EVER without his explicit permission each time was not acceptable. I accept your criticism in my method of trying to hold you accountable for your actions. Yes I should have sent word privately, as hindsight is 20/20, but the irony here is that I am just like you: When I see something wrong, I speak OUT.

    You’ll be issuing an apology to Chad and the others (not me of course…), and I suppose that’s that. I’ve seen the draft apology and I tell you what, it’s subtly critical of me, especially of my leadership style. Well, go ahead. Make my day. Bite back if it makes you feel better. I’ve already apologized for the grudge comment, which was out of line and based on personal opinion, not facts, and I have nothing more to say about this beyond what I sent you in…yes!…a private email. If you accept my entreaty, then we have a truce. And I appreciate your comment on my writing style. Thank you. You’re not too bad yourself.

    A final note: It’s hard for me to see the point of privately emailing someone who had no qualms about completely shredding JKF and IKJ’s character in public during the protest, either actively or passively. What goes around comes around. :-/ You don’t like criticism and it’s clear you don’t take it as well as you give it, but I tell ya, sometimes that’s exactly what leaders need, a good public whupping, to get them focused and back on the straight and narrow, and to motivate them to prove the criticisms wrong. You are a far more effective leader in the deafblind community than I am, so you can expect to have your critics and your fans. Comes with the territory, meh…

    You never did answer my comment about you joining the BOT. Why not? I realize you’ve got some plans coming up that might conflict with that, but why not put your money where your mouth is, so to speak? You want to make a change? The door is wide open. All you have to do is invite yourself to sit at the table with the big guys.

  12. Jennifer,

    I’m going to edit the apology letter – because it’s all about apologizing to Chad and the others, not about your criticism. WHat we have here is an separate issue, because you stepped up and criticized me in public, which I’m so very not used to. The people who disagreed with me or wanted to criticize me do it in private, with the exception of Gally-Net.
    I do welcome criticism, when it’s not in the tone that you wrote your comments in. I am always open for one-on-one conversations, online or in person, and more good can come out of harm. Of course, when someone shoots me on my own blog, how am I to react?
    I did consider nominating someone for the Board of Trustees – someone who is Deaf and Blind, an alumna of the school. I want that person to educate the Board that there are minorities within the Deaf community that struggle to get accessibility not only through racial and auditory acceptance.
    I believe that what we are doing, inviting Davila and his people to meet is a very good thing. What we want to do with him is not to rehash the errors of the administration, rather, come up with a 2 year plan in which Davila can empower his administration to do. That’s looking forward to a positive change.
    That’s all I want. I know the others, do too.

  13. Jennifer says:

    Awesome. 😉
    For the record, I would have reacted just like you did. Which is why I’ve been persistent, aiming to get you past the initial gut reaction, even at the risk of making myself look like a bully. I know that’s what it would take to get through to me heh. Blah.
    It is my hope Davila does in fact take action on the letter you submitted. I have a few things up my sleeve I’m thinking about doing to ensure just that. Time is precious nowadays, though, so see see.

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