Dear MSSD alumni,
Greetings, folks! I know many questions may be on your mind as they were on my mind about Gallaudet's handling of the protests and whether MSSD alumni who were involved in the protestors were actually guilty of breaking any law on the properties of MSSD and KDES. I know that some of you who were not present at Kendall Green during the events from October 11 through 13 may be still confused today, as more details of what happened continue to come out. Hence, I am writing to you to express my concerns and thoughts that may be as similiar as yours.
First, I would like to introduce myself. I was a student at Model Secondary School for the Deaf from 1978 to 1981. It was one of my best experiences in my life, being at MSSD and interacting with students from different states all over the U.S. Some of you who were with me during this time remember our MSSD pride was very strong. We had the best football and girls' basketball records at that time. In retrospective I feel the education we received back at MSSD then was very valuable, and is still today. MSSD was where I first took Journalism class and learned how to write reports. MSSD also has its own theatre (named after my teacher Eric Malzkuhn, Gallaudet alumnus), which gave outstanding plays during the years we were there. MSSD in my experience was one of the best places for a student to attend, especially with its proximity to the Capitol (only three miles) in Washington, D.C., which offered many opportunities for study of U.S. history.
Speaking of U.S. history, I come from two of very prominent Washingtonian families. Both my late grandfathers worked for the U.S. government on high levels. My late grandfather, the Honorable Robert McClintock, was Ambassador to four countries - Lebanon, Cambodia, Argentina and Venezuela. He has met his bosses, the Presidents of the United States, from Truman to Ford. My other grandfather, Stewart French, was Attorney to the Interior at Congress, and one of his great achievements in his career was his involvement in a legislative team that examined documents for statehood of Alaska and Hawaii in 1959 (which greatly expanded our country, the U.S.!). Like my paternal grandfather, my maternal grandfather met Presidents, too, as well as many politicians, Congressmen and Senators, whom he represented and befriended during many years of his work. Both contributed their parts to making of U.S. history.
Now, here in 2006 you can, too, contribute to making of U.S. history. I do not claim to be the sole representative for all MSSD alumni, since I did not graduate from MSSD. I was transferred to a hearing school against my wishes in 1982. Yet, as I have said before, MSSD will always remain part of my identity. I may have left MSSD, but MSSD never left my heart. So with this in respect, I hope you do not mind me speaking on all your behalf, seeing there was no one else to speak for us.
President-designate Jane K. Fernandes and the Gallaudet Public Relations made allegations against the GUFSSA and the protestors that they prevented MSSD and KDES students from getting education. Their allegations also include the students' supposedly blocking school buses from leaving to pick up KDES students and the banging on sides of the buses. Ms. Fernandes alleged that these students, which include 21 MSSD alumni, broke serious laws on campus. All these allegations are reportedly denied by posters on my website and in other people's blogsites.
Based upon these findings, I have been thinking deeply and have decided to write this open letter for all MSSD alumni. I ask that each one of you to suspend your judgement and to understand the protestors, why they are fighting for their cause. I ask you not to judge them by egregious offenses that some individual protestors thoughtlessly committed, but to judge them by the dedication of their heart to the cause for justice and truth. I ask that we, all MSSD alumni, pardon the 135 protestors, including the 21 MSSD alumni, for any serious offense or trangression that they may have committed on the premises of MSSD/KDES. I also ask that there be a censure of certain acts committed by individual protestors who acted not in the best interests of the FSSA. Let us not condemn all 135 protestors for a few individuals' actions. I think we all agree on what those acts that we deem unacceptable are. These acts include throwing objects, spraypainting on Gallaudet property, and other instances of violence or vandalism. I ask that this censure be deferred to a time after Jane K. Fernandes steps down from her position, truth is fully reconciled and healing is in place on campus. I ask you to please send your letters of support to the attention of the GUFSSA, the 21 MSSD alumni, and the hunger strikers in regard.
In sum, I ask you to please support the GUFSSA in its cause for justice and truth. Let's make Kendall Green a beautiful home again the way we remember it.
May Eagle Wings soar!
Class of 1982