Last night, Celia May Baldwin, the interim chair of the Board of Trustees, resigned from her position. In her letter, she cited that
The presidential search and the controversy that has ensued have put an enormous strain and stress on me. I simply could not ignore the numerous aggressive threats I have received over the past weeks.
Aggressive threats? She isn’t the only one who has complained of receiving them. At least one member of the Presidential Search Committee has experienced similar treatment.
I remember seeing Ms. Baldwin for the first time. It was May 1st, and she gushed forth with enthusaism as she prepared to announce Dr. Fernandes’s name. She called it “making history again.” It was plain to see how much love she held for Gallaudet — and how much she held sacred her responsibility to safeguard the university’s future. She stole the show that afternoon, not Dr. Fernandes.
She returned from California five days later, looking considerably more tired and maybe even a little confused as she faced a hostile, angry audience. Ms. Baldwin, who, at the last minute, took off from work to attend to this university emergency, was rewarded with a walkout by most of the audience before the open forum had concluded.
I know that the FSSA cannot be responsible for every dissenter’s actions, nor should a few bad apples bring down an entire protest/movement that has gained much support from all stakeholders. But these…these aggressive threats are inexcusable. No presidential selection controversy is worth destroying a person’s sense of personal safety.
This is America. We’re supposed to respect each other’s beliefs. Threatening others is deplorable. These letters are a symptom of the emotional violence that Chris and Allison have alluded to.
We, no matter our convictions, have a collective responsibility to ensure this behavior does not happen. Other bloggers, with complete disregard for the emotional well-being of these people, have posted the public and private e-mail addresses of several Board members. Irresponsible and inexcusable.
Ms. Baldwin–a very, very nice person–made a decision that she believed was in the best interests of the university. It was unpopular, and she knew it. Sure, she got some heat, but this? This isn’t the type of civility that Oscar referred to.
To whomever wrote these e-mails to Celia May Baldwin, shame on you.
To whomever wrote other threatening messages to involved persons–committee members, bloggers, students, faculty, shame on you.
To whomever has intimidated, in any shape, form or degree, another person for their beliefs (or lack thereof) concerning this controversy, shame on you.