The following news article is from Gallaudet in the News, Washington D.C., Gallaudet University Office of Public Relations, edited by Evelyn Brewster.


Deaf president named

School yields to protests

WASHINGTON (AP) Gallaudet University's board of trustees chose the dean of the school's College of Arts and Sciences to become the first deaf president in the 124-year history of the school for the hearing-impaired.

I. King Jordan, a popular campus figure, was chosen to replace Elisabeth Ann Zinser, a hearing woman who resigned early Friday after protests from students seeking a deaf leader had virtually paralyzed Gallaudet's campus.

School officials also announced that board of trustees Chairwoman Jane Bassett Spilman, who came under fire from protesters for handling of the crisis, has resigned. She will be replaced by Philip W. Bravin, one of four deaf members on the board.

In a clean sweep for student protesters, Bravin announced that the board of trustees would form a task force to study composition of the board, and institute a plan to ensure that a majority of the school's 20-member trustees panel is deaf. There also will be no reprisals against student protesters, Bravin said.

News of Jordan's selection was received with joy on campus. "We love it. We know now the university is going to be ours," said Gallaudet graduate student Paul Singleton, who is deaf. "He's the perfect president, the perfect selection."

Jordan, a finalist for the position when Zinser was selected, stunned protesters by endorsing Zinser's presidency at a news conference Wednesday, but gave protesters an emotional lift when he retracted his backing of Zinser the following day.

From The Houston Post
March 14, 1988


Summary: "Deaf President Named"

by Stu Dent

According to a March 14, 1988 news article in the Houston Post, "Deaf President Named," the selection of Gallaudet University President I. King Jordan was a joyous event for the campus community, which had long sought a deaf university president for the college.

In addition to Jordan's appointment, Gallaudet University Board of Trustees member Phillip W. Bravin, one of four deaf board members, was selected to replace Chair Jane Bassett Spilman. Spilman resigned from her position after criticism from protestors. According to Bravin, the trustees will establish a committee to ensure that the board has a majority of deaf members. Bravin also said that none of the demonstrators will be penalized for participating in the protest.

Jordan had at one point during the protest supported the selection of Elizabeth Ann Zinser, a hearing woman originally chosen by the Board of Trustees as Gallaudet University President. However, Jordan reversed his position the next day in support of the protest.