Police Look At Student Harassment (The Washington Post) 10/06/00
GLAA contributes 2 TTY machines to Police Department for deaf access
On Friday morning, October 6, GLAA President Bob Summersgill and Public Safety Chair Rick Rosendall attended a meeting hosted by the Human Rights Campaign to discuss the fears and concerns of gay students at Gallaudet University, in the aftermath of the murder of gay student Eric Plunkett in his dormitory room on campus.
Attending the meeting were gay students and faculty from Gallaudet, including Thomas Green, President of the Lambda Society at Gallaudet; Commander Jennifer Greene of MPD's Fifth District (5D); Officer Thomas Higdon of 5D; Sgt. Terry Alexander of MPD's Hate Crimes Unit; Officer Kelly McMurry of MPD's Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU); Terry Keeney and Ken Wainstein of the U.S. Attorney's Office; David Smith and Tracey St. Pierre of HRC; Charlotte Young of the DC Coalition; Karen Pettapiece of Gay Men and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV); Barbara Warner of PFLAG; a representative from the Anti-Defamation League; Cartwright Moore for Congresswoman Norton; Ross Weber, chief of staff for Councilmember David Catania; Wanda Alston, acting GLBT liaison for Mayor Williams; and Mayoral advisor and UDC Trustee Peter Rosenstein.
It was a productive meeting and many things were discussed. Among the problems that were raised is that the campus security at Gallaudet did not forward complaints from students about anti-gay harassment and threats to the Fifth District. Various communications problems were clearly identified as an issue.
In particular, it was learned that MPD's Fifth District, which includes Gallaudet, has for many years been without a TTY machine for telecommunication with the deaf. The GLLU, which operates out of MPD headquarters, was also without a TTY. Summersgill and Rosendall decided that GLAA would remedy this problem. They informed Commander Greene of GLAA's intention to deliver a TTY to 5D later that day. After the meeting, they accompanied the students back to the Gallaudet campus, where they went to the campus bookstore and purchased two TTY machines equipped with printers and answering machines. They then delivered one TTY to Captain Taliaferro at 5D. They delivered the second TTY to Assistant Chief Terry Gainer at MPD headquarters, who accompanied them to the operations center where the TTY was turned over to Officer Kelly McMurry of the GLLU. The equipment is officially on loan until the paperwork for their donation to the Department can be processed.
While Summersgill and Rosendall were purchasing the TTYs, Commander Greene was ordering a dedicated phone line for the one promised for 5D, and it was being installed late Friday afternoon. The new TTY number for 5D is (202)727-8453. The GLLU is working on getting a dedicated phone line in place for their new TTY; in the meantime, it can be used with a regular phone. We will list the GLLU TTY phone number as soon as we get it.
The two TTYs purchased by GLAA for the MPD cost $500 apiece. Anyone wishing to contribute toward their cost is asked to send a check to GLAA at P.O. Box 75265, Washington, DC 20013-5265. (Contributions to GLAA are not tax-deductible.)
There is much yet to be done to ensure the safety and confidence of gay students at Gallaudet, not to mention completing the investigation into the murder of Eric Plunkett. But GLAA appreciates the efforts of all those who participated in the October 6 meeting (especially HRC for hosting it), and will continue cooperating with all parties to address the concerns that the terrible death of Eric Plunkett has helped bring to light.