Last week, Gallaudet University students effectively shut down their campus during protests over the school’s incoming president. GW Student Association President Lamar Thorpe visited the scene last weekend; now he and other SA leaders plan to propose supporting the protestors with food and blankets. Faced with its own budgetary realities, the SA should not waste time, effort or resources involving itself in the complex internal politics of another university.
Gallaudet is the nation’s premier college for deaf and hearing-impaired students. The issues that its community faces are unique to non-hearing people. Not only is it unlikely that members of the SA can fully comprehend the complexities of the stand-off at Gallaudet, but it is also inappropriate for GW’s student government, as the official representative of the student body, to take a position on Gallaudet students’ concerns over whether their president will adequately promote deaf culture. Even the distribution of blankets or supplies amounts to tacit support of the student protestors.
It is wrong for the SA to meddle in the internal affairs of another University while facing a budget crunch and other pressing issues here at GW.
It is clear that these student leaders may have the best of intentions in proposing help for Gallaudet protesters. Even so, their effort is misguided. The students at that university face no danger or suffering that would legitimize SA support. Instead, the issue is one of internal policy and the future of deaf culture at Gallaudet. It should be left to members of the Gallaudet community to decide.