MSSD PR A Failure As Well
An editorial by D. McClintock
Let's recap the bus incident at the MSSD/KDES gates. Pieces and bits of the entire picture are slowly emerging. To this date, the GUFSSA spokespeople have not yet responded to my emailed questions. But anonymous posters, who are presumably protestors themselves, said on my blogsite that the allegations Ms. Maynerdie raised about the protestors supposedly blocking school buses or MSSD/KDES students from either leaving or coming in at the gates are untrue and "lies." Here is a following copy of one poster:
I used to work with the transportation department. All buses are kept in the basement of the parking structure on 6th street, on campus. The buses usually leave around 6 am. Now about the protest - we do not trap anyone inside. Everyone who has cars, buses, vans, you name it, are allowed out, but not everyone can get back in. We do not kidnap anyone on campus. That would be a severe violation! Everyone can leave as they please. And since we all agree that the school buses carrying students and teachers at MSSD/KDES were allowed back in, so the lies lie with the administration not the protest.
Here the poster contradicts Maynerdie's statement about protestors allegedly preventing buses from leaving to pick up elementary students. Who can imagine anyone at the protests getting up bleary-eyed and early, stretching and yawning, at 6am to block the school buses from leaving the gates?? This hole in Maynerdie's story further weakens the Gallaudet Public Relations' position on MSSD and KDES. The fact that she is a Jane K. Fernandes supporter also makes her statement biased.
The ambiguity of Maynerdie's statement incidates to me a possible slip of tongue, probably due to the rash way she wrote her reply, about who actually prevented the buses from leaving to pick up students. Blogger Mishka Zena pointed out one poster's comment on her website that the responsiblity for closing the schools lays with the university, not the protests.
The Gallaudet PR alleged that protestors banged violently on the sides of the school buses as they came in with the students. This was debunked by a father of one boy on MishkaZena.com.
Jane K. Fernandes characterized the so-called "dissenters" in her interview with the Washington Post as "terrorists," accusing them of denying MSSD and KDES students their education, saying that food for the campus and services for deaf babies and the elderly were being denied. Yet the protestors presented an entirely different picture, claiming that their protests are peaceful and non-violent. Note the use of such terms as "babies" and "senior citizens" could be her attempt to appeal to emotions of the deaf community and influence their public opinion in her way. But her approach, evidently, isn't working. She even put the words in the mouths of the Metro Police Department, whose jobs were simply to response to complaints.
Here's a copy of the link to the JKF interview for your reference:
Her reply to the reporter's question about the protestors' demands is curious.
I know there are two demands -- I resign and no reprisals. But a protest has to be FOR something, so I want to LISTEN to those involved. I want you to tell me what you are FOR. You want the protest to reduce racism on campus? So do I and we have a plan that is already going into action. You want to protest to reduce audism on campus? So do I and we have a plan to do so that is beginning.
Notice how she has ominously omitted reprisals? She didn't respond to that part.
The two original demands still remain and those are not negotiable. It is impossible to negotiate when the protesters have no flexibility in their demands.
How can the students negotiate if she is not flexible either?
21 of the 133 protestors arrested are MSSD alumni. There is an increasing number of support among MSSD alumnus for them. Even some of the faculty and staff working at MSSD who kept their names anonymous for fear of losing their jobs are in support, too. My conclusion from observing this event is that, while not all the details of the bus incident are yet fully clear, Ms. Elizabeth Maynerdie's statement falls on its face. It is 0 for MSSD PR, 1 for MSSD alumni/protestors.
Add this to a growing long list of the Gallaudet PR's failures.