Friday, May 23, 2008

O and B has been busy

O & B Coalition would like to thank everyone who has communicated their thoughts on this issue in a peaceful and constructive way.

We want to make it clear that we will not tolerate any defamation or slandering of individuals in our website. If people can not keep the discussion focused on the issue at hand: SHOULD RIT BE HONORING AG BELL WITH A DORM NAMED AFTER HIM?
and must resort to name calling and personal attacks, we will have to disabled our comment section.

O & B is committed to peaceful and civil disobedience. We have a high regard and respect for all parties involved in this challenging and important situation.


this posting will be updated periodically. corrections are welcomed

Friday May 16, 2008
NTID / RIT administration its decision to keep the dorm name in Bell's honor and the removal of the offensive plaque that stated "Today, NTID emulates the ideals for which Alexander Graham Bell worked."

Faculty and staff sent their responses to NTID faculty / staff, administration, and president of RIT in regards to the decision to keep the name honoring Bell on our campus.

Saturday May 17, 2008
North Carolina for the Deaf Seniors take up petition and sign it requesting the dorm name in Bell's honor be removed. Many cultures value and cherish the wisdom of their elders. O&B is very touched that these Senior Citizens took it upon themselves to take this peaceful stand.

Monday May 19, 2008
The plague in AG Bell's honor is removed. The Plaque read:
“The Alexander Graham Bell Building

Only six years before his death, Alexander Graham Bell looked back over his amazing life and wrote: “Recognition of my work for and interest in the education of the deaf has always been more pleasing to me than even recognition of my work with the telephone.”

A brillant and innovative teacher of the deaf, Bell dedicated a great portion of his life to help deaf children develop their potential for listening, speaking, and lipreading.

Today, NTID emulates the ideals for which Alexander Graham Bell worked.”

O&B regrets that it was not notified in advance of the removal time as they would have liked to witness it coming down but are very grateful that it has been removed.

Wednesday May 21, 2008
NTID administration announced its decision to host an open forum on June 4th at 2 pm in the CSD Student Development Center 1300 to allow members of the community to share their thoughts on the decision to keep the dorm name in Bell's honor, suggest new wording for a Bell plaque and to explain why the decision was made to keep the name.

Email correspondence between O&B representatives and the NTID and RIT presidents had been ongoing.

Thur May 22, 2008
members of the Orange & Brown Coalition met with NTID President Dr. Hurwitz to discuss our position and the administration's. It was a very healthy and positive meeting. In the afternoon O&B met with RIT President Dr. Destler to discuss our position and the administration's. It was a very healthy and positive meeting. Prior to the meeting with RIT's president while the members of O&B gathered in the lobby to prep for the meeting, a public safety officer appeared to be monitoring the group.

We found the openness and sincerity of both leaders to be very refreshing. They both stated they will not tolerate any attacks towards members of our community for supporting or opposing the dorm name in Bell's honor. They understand and appreciate that we are loyal to our goal of getting the A G Bell dorm renamed.

A letter and resolution was sent to NTID by Ohlone College stating its objection to NTID deciding to keep the dorm name in Bell's honor and a ceasing of business relations until RIT no longer honors Bell due to his extreme and exclusive beliefs and practices.

A letter from NSC president, Noella Kolash, was sent to NTID and RIT presidents expressing concern about transparency, lack of student input in the decision making process and the timing of the decision.

O&B member posted in LBJ bldg blue flyers, "Getting To Know AG Bell" with facts about him and why it is incongruent with RIT's value statement to have a dorm named in his honor. The signs were removed by the next day. It is not clear who removed these signs.

Fri May 23, 2008
Prior to the NTID graduation ceremony, O& B was joined by members of the RIT Social Action Group. This is a group of RIT hearing students who learned about our opposition to a dorm in Bell's honor and were equally outraged so they joined us in our peaceful activism.

O&B members were approached by an public safety officer and an interpreter asking what our intentions were during the NTID graduation ceremony. They had heard we were planning a protest. Ruthie Jordan explained that we planned to peacefully distribute a blue flyer listing things you should know about AG Bell and why we were asking for the dorm to be renamed. We would also be offering an orange and blue ribbon with the flyer. (Orange for O&B coalition and RIT's colors and blue is in honor of Deaf people who have suffered from oppression and injustice and in honor of our Deaf heros/heroines and ancestors.) The investigator looked over the flyer and then explained they had a special area on the other side of the building for us to give out the materials after graduation. Ruthie kindly declined and explained that we would be fine mingling amongst the audience before the ceremony began distributing the flyer and ribbon peacefully to those interested. When investigator Lezette asked what he could do to assist us, we gave him a ribbon and asked him to wear it. He accepted it but opted not to wear it.

Prior to the graduation and during it, some of the members of O&B were under surveillance by public safety. One graduating student, Joe Kolash, displayed a sign to each person on the stage as he received his diploma and congratulations. The sign read "I am sad to be graduating from NTID/RIT, which supports eugenics."

This evening an announcement from Dr. Hurwitz stating that he will reconsider his decision re: the AG Bell dorm name after further dialogue from our community was sent out to the community.

It has been a hard week for all parties involved. We are very happy to see the power of peaceful activism and that all parties involved can have mutual respect, caring and affection for each other while we tackle this thorny issue. It is good to know that the controversy has not succeeded in dividing brother against sister as RIT seeks to do that which is right, that which is good, and that which is just.


Orange & Brown Coalition


moi said...

I'm proud of you guys for standing up for what's right. It's not an easy task, and I know this from experience. Handwaves to you all! *hug*

moi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

above deleted because repeat comment
posted 2x accidently

About Orange Brown Coalition

Mission: To share with the RIT community about Deaf Culture (language, history, humor, etc.) and related activities.

To facilitate relationships between Deaf and hearing members of the RIT community through awareness of our cultures.

To provide opportunities for self-empowerment and self-advocacy of Deaf people on campus.

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