The Gallaudet protest of D.P.N

(Deaf President Now)

The Story of Students Making Things Right: 1988

Fuel to the Fire

March 6th, 1998: News about the brand-new, seventh, hearing president (Elisabeth Zinser) spread fast on the grounds of Gallaudet university. The deaf students, requested their first deaf president of Gallaudet- but it did not happen. The board of trustees of the University hastily put out their decisions an hour and a half before people were expecting it, and instead of picking one of the many deaf candidates- they picked the only hearing person. All the past presidents of Gallaudet- were all hearing. So- annoyed- the students took a stand.

Day One: March 6th,1988

Students first blocked the gates of the campus to avoid having anyone coming in. Students and alumni locked the gates by using heavy duty bike locks, and blocked the gates with buses with airless tires. And to top that off, the board ignored the students demands. So supporters of the protest took it with them, to the Capitol building.

Day Two: March 7th, 1988

Throughout the night, the protesters met and talked about their action plan. What they settled on doing, was to drive cars in front of the campus gates- and to deflate the tires. They even formed a human chain to avoid having any haters walk into campus. That morning, the campus was buzzing with excitement! The protesters made their four demands about the situation.

1. Elisabeth Zinser must be replaced by a deaf president.

2. Spilman must leave Gallaudet's board of trustees.

3. The percentage of deaf people on Gallaudet's board is at least 51%

4. There must be no acts of reprisals against the protesters.

Day Three: March 8th, 1988

The students opened up the campus again, but abandoned their classes. Instead, they went to speeches and rallies. Throughout that evening- the speeches were still going on! The news was on international news- spreading awareness about the deaf, to those watching.

Fast Foward

Fast Forward

The 8-day-lasting protest was put to a stop when the students demands were met. On March the 13th, the following statements were declared.

1. Spilman resigned

2. Phillip Bravin was assigned to be the next chair of the board of trustees.

3. A taskforce was set up to find out how to have 51% of the board deaf.

4. No surprises for the students.

5. The first deaf president (Dr. I. King Jordan) was assigned for Gallaudet.

In these eight exciting days, success was made. This historical mark made people more aware of the things that need help. The protest of D.P.N will be remembered.

Word Bank

Gallaudet University: A university made specially for the deaf.


Alumni: A former student or a graduate of a school, college, or university.


Capitol building: The meeting place of the United States Congress.


Effigies: A sculpture or a model of a person.


Jane Spilman: Jane Spilman, is the chairperson of Gallaudet’s trustees, reported that

"Deaf people are not ready to function in a hearing world".


Elisabeth Zinser: The sole hearing candidate of being Galaudet's president.


Reprisals: A violation against the international law.