Fairmount Park's Belmont Plateau Fields to Host Tent City Rally in Support for Gallaudet Protesters

Philadelphia, PA October 18 2006 – Fairmount Park’s Belmont Plateau Fields will host a Tent City Rally in support of the Faculty, Staff, Students, and Alumni Coalition (FSSA at www.gufssa.com) to seek social justice and the immediate resignation of Dr. Jane Fernandes as the 9th President of Gallaudet University in addition to the re-opening of the presidential search process.

The Tent City will be on Wednesday, October 18 2006 from 4 pm to 9 pm or longer at the Fairmount Park’s Belmont Plateau Fields, Philadelphia, PA. Look for one or two huge white tents that will be set up and you can’t miss it.

Direction to Fairmount Park’s Belmont Plateau Fields:

From I-76:

East or West: Take the Montgomery Drive Exit (toward Belmont Avenue/away from the river). (Left if you're headed West, Right if you're headed East.) There is a parking lot and playing fields about .25 miles from the exit.

From West Philadelphia: Turn right as if you were going Montgomery Drive (to go to 76). (It might also be called Belmont Mansion Drive.) There is a parking lot and playing fields on your left, about .5 miles from the turn. (From City Ave, same as above, but go left from Belmont Ave.)

Click here for directions:

Fairmount Park Belmont Plateau Fields

Any questions about direction or if you get lost, contact Cren Quigley at Cren@tmail.com.

Philadelphia Deaf Community’s Tent City stressed the importance of social justice, the resignation of Dr. Fernandes, and most importantly, the re-opening of the search process that led to Dr. Fernandes’ appointment by university Board of Trustees that was declared by the FSSA as flawed.

The announcement of Dr. Fernandes’ selection resulted in massive protests at Gallaudet University, the world’s only liberal arts university for the deaf, last May. The protests have intensified in recent days as university Board of Trustees convened on campus for the first of their three annual meetings. Dr. I. King Jordan, the current President, will be ending his eighteen-year tenure on 31 December 2006.

Protesters contend that the initial search process was flawed where a person of color and a woman with extensive experience in the fields of rehabilitation and deaf education were passed over for Dr. Fernandes whose leadership in her eleven-year tenure as Vice-President and Provost was proven to be ineffective. In addition to the search process, deeper issues pertaining to racism, audism, and social justice have been evident during Dr. Jordan’s tenure as president. Dr. Jordan and Dr. Fernandes played what would be termed as “the identity politics card” with their comments to the media thus painting a grossly inaccurate picture of social justice at the university.

Tent City was named in response by protesters who put up tents on the campus grounds immediately after the announcement of Dr. Fernandes. Protesters stayed in the Tent City for a week before dispersing for the summer break. It was revived in recent days just after the university had commenced classes for the fall semester and, in particular, after the university enacted a set of guidelines that restricted the freedom of expression by establishing a set of complicated procedures to assemble.

The FSSA contends that the Board of Trustees has turned a deaf ear to the issues presented by its stakeholders as well with its unwillingness to engage in open dialogue about the deep issues uncovered by the protests. The University Faculty adopted a set of resolutions requesting that Dr. Fernandes publicly renounce her appointment as President, a vote of no-confidence for Dr. Fernandes as President-elect, and to stand behind the student body in their demands last May.

A couple of weeks ago, the Student Body passed a resolution denouncing the appointment of Dr. Fernandes as the 9th President of Gallaudet University as well with denouncing the aforementioned guidelines restricting the freedom of expression by members of the Gallaudet community.

Press release and event organization courtesy of Cren Quigley and Katherine Feldmann.

Media Contact: Mark Drolsbaugh at Drolz@tmail.com and Katherine Feldmann at Kpfeldmann@tmail.com