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WASHINGTON (AP) Gallaudet University's board of trustees chose the dean of the school's College of Arts and Sciences to become the first deaf president in the 124-year history of the school for the hearing-impaired.
King Jordan, a popular campus figure, was chosen to replace Elisabeth Ann Zinser, a hearing woman who resigned early Friday after protests from students seeking a deaf leader had virtually paralyzed Gallaudet's campus.
School officials also announced that board of trustees Chairwoman Jane Bassett Spilman, who came under fire from protesters for handling of the crisis, has resigned. She will be replaced by Philip W. Bravin, one of four deaf members on the board.
In a clean sweep for student protesters, Bravin announced that the board of trustees would form a task force to study composition of the board, and institute a plan to ensure that a majority of the school's 20-member trustees panel is deaf. There also will be no reprisals against student protesters, Bravin said.
News of Jordan's selection was received with joy on campus. "We love it. We know now the university is going to be ours," said Gallaudet graduate student Paul Singleton, who is deaf. "He's the perfect president, the perfect selection."
Jordan, a finalist for the position when Zinser was selected, stunned protesters by endorsing Zinser's presidency at a news conference Wednesday, but gave protesters an emotional lift when he retracted his backing of Zinser the following day.