WASHINGTON, D.C. – Gallaudet University, a renowned institution for the deaf and hard of hearing, has recently been labeled the most dangerous college campus in the United States. This designation comes from a report by “Your Local Security,” based on data obtained by the Parrish Law Firm from Campus Safety, and was highlighted in a recent Fox 5 article. The report underscores significant concerns about the safety and well-being of the university’s students and staff.

Alarming Crime Statistics
The report, based on data obtained by the Parrish Law Firm from Campus Safety, reveals that Gallaudet University has reported a staggering 1,110 incidents per 1,000 students. This rate is notably higher than other universities across the country, raising serious questions about campus security and the effectiveness of current safety measures. The high incidence rate includes various violent and property crimes, underscoring the urgent need for enhanced security protocols.

Among these reported incidents, 97 offenses fall under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This category includes crimes such as sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking, highlighting a critical area of concern for the university. The prevalence of these offenses emphasizes the necessity for comprehensive support systems and preventive measures to protect students, particularly women, on campus.

Broader Safety Concerns
The recent designation as the most dangerous campus adds to the ongoing discourse about safety at Gallaudet University. Over the past few years, the university has been dealing with a range of safety issues, including allegations of police misconduct and systemic racism within the Department of Public Safety (DPS). Articles from sources like Deaf Vee Journal have detailed instances of excessive force and negligence by DPS officers, particularly against Black and Brown students.

One notable incident involved the death of Carl Dupree in 1990, who suffocated after being restrained with an illegal chokehold by campus security officers. More recently, in February 2022, freshman honors student Roberto Cuenca Maldonado passed away due to a medical emergency. Reports indicate that it took DPS 50 minutes to respond to an emergency call for help during his asthma attack, raising serious questions about the department’s response time and overall effectiveness​ (Deaf Vee Journal)​​ (Deaf Vee Journal)​.

Critics, including contributors to Deaf Vee Journal, have accused President Roberta “Bobbi” Cordano and the university of performative allyship. Despite gestures such as celebrating Juneteenth and Black History Month, these actions are seen as superficial without concrete, ongoing efforts to address systemic issues. Articles argue that BIPOC students, faculty, and staff continue to face police brutality and marginalization on campus, and such gestures do not address the root problems​.

Issues with the Department of Public Safety (DPS)
Numerous reports detail ongoing issues within the DPS at Gallaudet University. Black and Brown Deaf students reported feeling unsafe and neglected by DPS, citing instances of excessive force and negligence. The historical pattern of police misconduct, including the deaths of students Carl Dupree in 1990 and more recently Roberto Cuenca Maldonado in 2022, further highlights the systemic problems within DPS. Despite these concerns, critics argue that Cordano’s administration has not taken sufficient action to address these issues​

Gallaudet University has also faced legal and compliance issues. In 2022, it was revealed that DPS had been operating without a proper license since October 2021, breaching compliance with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA). This admission raises questions about the university’s commitment to safety and legal compliance​

Accusations Against Kappa Gamma
In June 2020, President Cordano publicly identified the Kappa Gamma fraternity as “the face of systemic racism” at the university. This statement triggered significant backlash from the fraternity and the broader community. Ten former Kappa Gamma members subsequently filed a lawsuit against Gallaudet University and The Washington Post, claiming that Cordano’s statements were defamatory and had negatively impacted their lives and careers​. In response, Kappa Gamma emphasized their condemnation of racism and efforts to improve inclusivity, while criticizing Cordano for deflecting attention from broader systemic issues at Gallaudet​.

Mental Health and Suicide Concerns
The university has also faced tragic incidents related to student suicides, further emphasizing the need for robust mental health support. The recent suicide of a student, Gianni Manganelli, in August 2020, after a wrongful arrest and inadequate mental health intervention by DPS, has drawn significant attention to the gaps in the university’s support systems for students experiencing mental health crises​.

Gallaudet’s challenges reflect a broader trend in higher education. For example, the University of Maryland recently suspended all Greek life activities due to safety concerns, highlighting the need for proactive measures to ensure student safety​ (Medriva)​. Gallaudet University faces complex challenges in ensuring campus safety. From high crime rates and neighborhood concerns to systemic racism and infrastructure needs, the university must adopt comprehensive strategies to create a safer and more inclusive environment. Ongoing reforms and community engagement are crucial steps toward addressing these multifaceted issues