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Gallaudet Students, Security Share Blame

January 27, 2007

From CNN.com

POSTED: 10:25 a.m. EST, January 17, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) — An independent investigation into an October confrontation between deaf students and campus police at Gallaudet University said the force had inadequate training.

The report released Monday also said students share some of the blame for blocking officers from entering a university building, and that an officer’s pushing of a student was excessive.

The 53-page report, led by Eric Holder, a former deputy attorney general under President Clinton, reviewed the events of October 6, 2006, when hundreds of students occupied a campus building to protest the selection of Jane K. Fernandes as the university’s president.

Following the protests, the school’s board revoked Fernandes’ appointment.

University public safety officers, who entered the building after a bomb threat, forced their way past resisting students, who subsequently alleged police brutality.

The altercation resulted from the combination of the bomb threat and deaf protesters who could not communicate with officers, the report found.

The report recommended that Gallaudet hire more deaf and hard-of-hearing officers, enact mandatory sign-language standards for existing officers, and use sign-language interpreters. Campus police officers should also be better trained in use of force when responding to protests, it said.

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