Investigation Concludes Gallaudet Police, Students Are To Blame for Confrontation

WASHINGTON – The altercation between students and campus police at Gallaudet University this fall has been independently reviewed, and the report states both the security department and students caused the incident.

The study concluded the police officers were not adequately trained and that one officer’s pushing of a student was not appropriate. It also stated that students contributed to the troubles by blocking officer access to a building.

The student protest took place on Oct. 6 at the primarily deaf Gallaudet University in response to the selection of Jane K. Fernandez as president. More than 200 students and faculty occupied one of the main campus buildings of the campus after the board of trustees, the students claim, ignored their objections to her appointment. After the protest, Fernandes’ appointment was revoked.

The protesters accused the school’s police force of abuse and insensitivity during the incident. The claim came about after campus police rushed to the occupied building in response to an anonymous bomb threat that later turned out to be a false alarm. When the police entered, they were unable to communicate with the students and were accused of roughly handling them as well as spraying them with mace. School officials, however, deny using pepper spray.

The 53-page report says the confrontation resulted primarily from two things: the bomb threat and the deaf protestors’ inability to communicate with officers. The report recommends Gallaudet hire more deaf and hard-of-hearing police officers. It also suggested the use of interpreters as well as the implementation of sign-language standards for existing officers. Additional use-of-force training was also recommended.

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