On February 29, Hillel@Gallaudet, with the support of the university’s Division of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusive Excellence, held a program on campus, “Ask Me Anything,” with Yehoshua Soudakoff, a deaf rabbi who lives in Israel. 

The event was open to the entire Gallaudet campus community. Students, staff, alumni and local community members attended. By most accounts, it was an engaging program that touched on a wide range of topics and was conducted civilly and safely. In close proximity to this event, a group of protesters demonstrated. Like all campus groups, they too have had the same opportunity to host similar events with other guest speakers. 

However, this group, in violation of the university’s policy on expressive activities and assembly, did not protest in the space provided. They were given a designated space for this protest. Designated spaces allow the university to navigate the balance between providing a space to conduct expressive activities with the need to keep order and the campus community safe. While protests are disruptive by design, Gallaudet supports the exchange of different viewpoints provided such activities or assemblies adhere to university guidelines. The university will take appropriate actions as stipulated in our guidelines and policies.

To be very clear, based on feedback we have received to date from attendees, the event itself was conducted safely. Contrary to many social media reports, no one was “attacked” or “forced to hide in a room.”

Many concerns have been raised both here among the Gallaudet community and beyond. While we respect and acknowledge all of these perspectives, it is important to clarify and correct several important points.

Gallaudet University unequivocally denounces any form of harassment, intimidation, oppression and disparagement against any individual or group. Violence has no place at Gallaudet and we will not tolerate any assault or violence. We will not tolerate any form of anti-Arab, anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, or anti-Semitic rhetoric or actions.

We want to reiterate that, as an institution of higher education, Gallaudet University takes academic freedom and freedom of expression through civil and respectful discourse seriously. Gallaudet encourages and welcomes different ways of thinking and the challenge of encountering different perspectives. This does not waver or change when the issues become increasingly polarizing and complex. 

As a university, Gallaudet fosters and encourages respectful conversation and debate. Our recently established Center for Democracy in Deaf America whose mission is to empower disagreement, debate and civic engagement in our community is just one of many strong examples. At Gallaudet, we challenge ourselves. We continue to evolve as we work to respectfully understand different perspectives without condemnation. This is when our community is strongest.

We acknowledge the significant devastation and loss of life that Gazan, Israeli, and Palestinian people are experiencing. So too do we acknowledge the suffering experienced by many other groups and individuals, especially during these times of such global unrest. We can disagree on many issues but we can also find ways to respect, support and learn from one another. This, too, is when our community is strongest.

Our leadership remains committed to working with all campus groups to ensure our campus is not only safe but a place where everyone feels that they are respected and belong.

Support services are available to our community. Students may reach out to Counseling and Psychological Services at Staff and faculty may contact the Employee Assistance Program at 800‐607‐1522 or The company code is “GALLAUDET”.

In accordance with Policy 2.28, Anti-Discrimination Complaint Policy and Procedures, religious and racial bias and hate complaints can be sent to Equal Opportunity Programs at

The Gallaudet University Executive Leadership Team

Roberta Cordano

Khadijat Rashid

Heather Harker
Chief of Staff

Marianne Belsky
Chief Academic Officer, Clerc Center

Jeremy Brunson
Interim Chief Diversity Officer

Brad Hermes
Chief Financial Officer

Travis Imel
Dean, Student Affairs

Faye Kuo
Deputy General Counsel

Dominic Lacy
Chief Operating Officer

Brandi Rarus
Chief Communications & Admissions Officer

Laurene Simms
Chief Bilingual Officer

Nicole Sutliffe
Chief Administrative Officer, Clerc Center

Recent News

Stay up to date on all the gallaudet happenings, both stories, and initiatives, we are doing with our Signing community!