Ex-prez of a small college (Gallaudet U. for the deaf) is highest-paid federal retiree!

This guy, I King Jordan, a retired president of a small taxpayer-funded college for the deaf, is the highest-paid federal retiree (photo: sourds.net)

LEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS — Not the former vice president who served for decades in public service, not former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, nor a doctor or administrator of a federal agency, but rather, I. King Jordan, the retired president of a small college that is wholly funded by the federal government.

Gallaudet University in Washington D.C.  serves deaf students. It receives $120 million dollars of taxpayer money each year while its drop-out rate is among the worst of all brick and mortar colleges. Towards the end of the school year the Gallaudet undergraduate student total is usually a couple hundred kids under 1,000. Indeed, the enrollment rate, graduation rate and retention rate has reportedly been in a free fall since the 1990s. To top it off, the educational outcomes have historically been woefully poor, especially in the area of English literacy. Deaf students no longer are restricted to this one college — for decades, deaf students have thrived at programs located elsewhere around the country.

Upon Jordan’s retirement a few years back, the Gallaudet Board of Trustees, having very little accountability to the taxpayers funding the school, deemed Jordan worthy of the highest federal retirement package in the nation — $375,900, per year.

Media requests for comments from Dr. Jordan were ignored.

Those within the deaf community say talking about the retirement pay issue amounts to “bickering.” Some Gallaudet faculty members have made inane arguments like ‘NBA players get paid more’  to stop debates — completely forgetting that taxpayers  pay Jordan’s retirement and their own salaries. This suggests many live in a bubble of EXPECTATION of federal support — not the demonstrating of DESERVING  federal support.

This expectation has manifested itself elsewhere — including the defrauding of the federal government by video relay services — many, if not most of the 26+ and counting indicted people have ties to Gallaudet. Indeed, many of the ringleaders have ties to one particular fraternity on the D.C. campus.

There is a juicy story here worthy of investigation by the Washington Post.

Back to Jordan. Excessive, irresponsible and maddening as some say? I have to agree. Dr. Jordan, do the right thing – cut your retirement benefit to $150,000 a year and return the rest to the U.S Treasury and become a man of great respect!



This guy, I King Jordan, a retired president of a small taxpayer-funded college for the deaf, is the highest paid federal retiree (photo: sourds.net)

Most recent video relay fraud case: https://lexiecannes.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/two-people-indicted-in-another-vrs-video-relay-service-for-deaf-people-federal-fraud-case/

Additional information on video relay fraud: https://lexiecannes.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/fraudulent-deaf-video-relay-providers-viable-bonheyo-bonheyo-a-quick-look-back-when-the-story-first-broke/

John Yeh jail sentencing: https://lexiecannes.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/deaf-patron-of-the-arts-and-esteemed-community-leader-sentenced-to-nearly-a-decade-in-jail/


Watch LEXIE CANNES right now: http://www.amazon.com/Lexie-Cannes-CourtneyODonnell/dp/B00KEYH3LQ Or get the DVD: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0963781332   

LEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS is associated with Wipe Out Transphobia: http://www.wipeouttransphobia.com/

Read Lexie Cannes in The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/courtney-odonnell/

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32 replies

  1. A reminder: Ad hominem comments will be deleted. Please confine your comments to the topic, not the poster(s). All views are welcome and appreciated.

  2. You imply that deaf people are supportive of IKJ’s salary (both before and after retirement). Nothing could be further from the truth.

    • Is not the Gallaudet Board of Trustees a representation of the deaf community? The majority of the board clearly wasn’t concerned about this misuse of their power. Was there an outrage of the misuse of public funds and demands that the board members resign at that time? Disagreeing with these decisions in silence is a bit akin to enabling.

      If the deaf community does not police itself, outsiders will come in and do it for you. The IKJ blunder and the VRS scandals are examples of this.

      • The board of trustees doesnt represent the deaf community. they do have to be primarily deaf but making that logical leap is like saying Congress represents men! Many Deaf people, including myself, weren’t aware of this ridiculously high retirement package-and if you consider the animosity around Jordan visible at the recent Gallaudet protest, it ought to be clear this isn’t the choice of a community. (Oh: and I pay taxes too, as fo quite a few of us…)

  3. Also your report of deaf people whitewashing Yeh, et al is inaccurate. Yes, there are some outspoken deaf people (often also loud advocates of deaf rights) who spout excuses for them. But way more have condemned them. This leads me to wonder if you even associate with deaf people at all or merely observe them from afar.

  4. A little disappointed in the Author’s lack of sensitivity or empathy toward Deaf culture in this article.

    While topically, over paid aristocrats is a good subject, I feel that some points were made in an attempt to skew the perspective against Galludet University for the benefit of dramatization in the article.

    If the author were more deaf-aware or sympathetic toward Deaf culture in general then they would understand that English is not the primary language for many who are immersed in the Deaf world. Signing or at Galludet, ASL would be the primary language that student and staff are versed which contains different grammatical structure to written English. So it is no wonder that results in English literacy tests may not be comparable to other Universities in the US that cater to hearing people.

    I also feel that the article fails to convey how the deaf world is a small and also shrinking minority as more children become implanted and mainstreamed rather than taught sign language and to embrace the uniqueness of deaf culture. Understanding these points would surely shine a different kind of light on this article and hopefully others will take that into consideration.

    I personally believe that deafness will be erradicated in the future because unlike other minorities that may be based on race or skin color it is viewed as a disability or disease of the human condition rather than the difference in perspective that it actually offers.

    The authors fears of wasted tax payer money will ultimately be put to an end when institutions such as Galludet are forced to close their doors due to lack of participants in the culture. This will be a sad day as we will lose something special but it is something that is inevitable in my opinion and we can prepare for it the best we can by conserving our knowledge of what deaf culture has given us and revealed to us about what it means to be human.

    • Thanks for your comments.

      Unfortunately, you’re trying to appeal to emotion as a means of distracting from the matter at hand.

      What I think, or anyone thinks of deaf culture, Gallaudet and deaf people is of no consequence to this debate.

      The only topic of discussion is whether or not Jordan is worthy of being the highest paid federal employee.

  5. Thanks for your comments.

    The deaf community is indeed small, but it exists on the shoulders of taxpayers — had the Gallaudet trustees not been so greedy and given Jordan a reasonable retirement package, none of this would have come to light.

    The fate of the deaf community their theirs to decide — so far they’re not making good decisions.

    • Well, the Deaf community shouldn’t be blamed for the actions of a few. Every group has greedy idiots-all you have to do is look at the current corporate welfare schema.

      It also wasn’t a public vote, but a private decision by a small group, and approved by Congress. (You might be asking about that, too, and which interests encouraged such approval, and why a cochlear implant center appeared on campus…)

      • Actions of a few? The board of trustees consists of the most esteemed leaders and individuals in the deaf community. They are selected because they supposedly represent a cross section of the deaf community.

        Corporate welfare and CIs have nothing to do with IKJ being the highest paid retiree.

        Thanks for your comments.

      • Unfortunately, corporate welfare (the action of giving high bonuses and retiring benefits to exiting executives whether or not they deserve it or whether or not it’s good for the community) seems to me to be directly connected to this issue.

        So does the fact that the college established a controversial center for hearing with a huge amount of incoming money.

        I think there ought to be speculation about whether these huge bonuses have anything to do with specific acts by Jordan.

        As for the Board, plenty of board members have little or nothing to do with the Deaf community, right? All you have to do is look at the website. And just because a person IS Deaf or a member of the Deaf community doesn’t mean they can’t become corrupted after their selection; plenty of people do.

        • Corporate welfare has nothing to do with Jordan’s overpaid retirement. We’re talking private money vs. taxzpayer money.

          The hearing center was likely created to keep funds flowing into Gallaudet’s coffers . . .

          The current board had nothing to do with Jordan’s retirement benefit. It’s true board members can become corrupted, this is why I’m holding them accountable for making this blunder with Jordan.

      • The Board of Trustees consists of some members of the Deaf community, some hearing politicians and business leaders. They are selected because they are rich and “successful” and have something to offer the board in terms of contact. There are no poor members of the Deaf community on the board, and no mandate to “represent a cross-section of the Deaf community.” They certainly don’t have student members, as my own college did.

        Whether taxpayer money or private funds, the structure and end result is the same (and plenty of the big businesses were saved – through the use of taxpayer funds, so at that point, your argument falls apart.)

        And yes, of course, the hearing center funnels money into Gallaudet’s coffers. Why do you think I’m connecting that with Jordan getting so much cash? It’s not a huge logical leap. He does something unpopular with the community on the way out and gets a nice bonus. Smart, innit? Politicians have been doing that kind of exit work for ages.

    • There are 36 million Deaf and hard of hearing people in the USA – many of whom are hardworking tax payers. Gallaudet does not represent all of us – and you yourself had said that Gallaudet’s undergraduate class is less than 1,000. The actions of a few do not speak for all members within any one community.

      • I agree, a few should not speak for everyone, but I’m sorry to tell you but the Gallaudet community (alumni and staff) has been speaking for all deaf people for years. It’s wrong but we’ve let it happen.

    • and the hearing community/world isnt any better but its worser…

      • Are you sure? The highest paid retired federal employee is a DEAF man, not hearing.

        Lets stay on topic. We’re not talking about the other ills of the world. We cannot dismiss wrong behavior in one circumstance just because occurs elsewhere.

    • Deaf people are accustomed to having no voice, or no one anyone in power listens to. They’re made to feel at fault for needing interpreters and the expense that entails. Hearing professionals routinely refuse to pay for interpreters, saying they can make do with written communication. They won’t even return relay calls. Their time is too valuable. Don’t like it? Go somewhere else.

      Deaf people are often not ‘literate’ in English language because their native language, ASL, has no written equivalent. They translate your English to their visual language (syntactically based in French) and often do about as well trying to understand what’s going on by reading body and facial language. If thy go ‘somewhere else’ for services they find this office is suddenly taking no new patients or clients. Not deaf ones.

      When the going gets tough, the obvious way to cut expenses to to cut entitlements. The deaf won’t speak up for themselves. No on listens. They’re not a big enough or important enough constitiuency. They go to a hearing person, or someone with ties to the deaf and the hearing communitie and say, “You speak for us. They’ll listen to you.” You can protest, “That’s bull! They’re Americans. Let them speak for themselves!” They don’t feel like Americans. They’re more often looked on as a tax drag, set aside from a workforce that won’t allow them to work for fear of increased liability or expense, and prefers to pay a pittance SSI instead. Then complain about it.

      If a few defend Jordan’s right to his exorbitant retirement compensation because for many many years he was one of the few people in the deaf community to whom hearing power brokers would listen, perhaps it’s because they don’t feel ‘their tax support’ is being abused. Yet more deaf and hard of hearing people work than do not.

      John Yeh and other militants rationalize: “Hearing people have held us back from making a living, ‘dismissing’ us from the worforce with a pittance from SSI for generations. It’s about time some of us ‘stick it to the Man! Take the money and run!” This fear and greed is not new in any community–deaf or hearing. Don’t imply otherwise.

      Your blog with its 157 followers and counting seems to be trying to get the attention of the Washington Post with article suggestions targeting the tax support abuses in programs for the deaf. I understand blogging is a way to get a job these days. I wish you luck. But your efforts paint deaf people as appathetic, greedy, even criminal. There are a few like John Yeh. Their attitude is not unlike that of other tax supported agencies–take the money and run before they take it back. In my area, the military has its contractors working holiday weekends, paid triple time so they spend their alotment, so appropriations won’t be cut next year. You want to get the attention fo the Post? Call for investigations of all tax supported programs, not just deaf ones.

      Your insinuation which ties all these deaf abusers of taxpayers’ trust to a Gallaudet fraternity is tiresome. The prevailing conspiracy theory touted about everything and anything these days is tiresome. It casts blame on everyone but those really to blame–all of us who assumed the American dream was our entitlement, and we don’t have to question or police its struts or supports to keep it real.

      Welcome to your new community–fear mongerers in this political climate who want to avoid tax increases by cutting out school children, minorities, old people, poor people and anyone else you’re not interested in. Start the deeper cuts with programs for deaf and hard of hearing people. They won’t speak up. They’re not political. They can’t even write. No matter how much we spend on deaf education. Cut quickly and they won’t even have time to organize, to speak up. Call it the ‘new normal.’

      Virginia’s governor is right now cutting out the only state agency devoted to communications access and equipment to help deaf, hard of hearing, speech disabled and deaf-blind persons access to the same telephone service you and I take for granted. The Department for Deaf & Hard of Hearing people will be subsumed in another agency and their budget cut cut 25-30%, with more cuts to follow once the appropriations to the larger agency are reviewed and cut 25-30%.

      In schools, students who previously were deemed to need communication access supports have been reevalutated. Standards have changed. Miracles happen. Lo, they’re now no longer in need of those supports. They’re apparently ‘healed’ or in need of less support (translation: one frazzled interpreter for a whole school system) in a cost-cutting measure.

      Not speaking up for the rights of the few is finally resulting in destructions of the rights of many: school systems are having to cut the school week to 4 days. Mandatory number of school days has been cut substantially. Schools are being closed, class sizes increased. And that’s now. What will be done this year (FY2012) to further cut costs remains to be seen. But this needn’t concern you if you don’t have school children. If you’ve already put your kids through school, screw the parents of school kids today. Let ’em find their own solutions to education.

      I ask you to be fair. Stop singling out the deaf. Speak out for GAO audits of all tax supported programs. Make your mark targeting a larger community, including hearing people and gays or ethnic minorities you probably find it more risky to rile.

      I will excuse you if you choose to judge this a rant and block it. It is long. But don’t you dare quote me out of context. That’s true journalistic cowardice!

      • Thanks for your comments.

        I don’t block comments on my blog. I only edit or delete comments that are ad hominem attacks.

        Yes, not everybody in the deaf community are greedy or agree what Jordan got was fair.

        But again, former GU board members John Yeh and Benjamin Soukup were among the most esteemed of the esteemed deaf leaders — hardly any other current deaf leaders were as widely respected and praised. Few can argue they were not representing the deaf community.

        • “But again, former GU board members John Yeh and Benjamin Soukup were among the most esteemed of the esteemed deaf leaders”

          What the hell? It isn’t like deaf people elected them to some office. Nobody died and made them official leaders of us. They were ambitious men, and by extension, very visible in the community. Nothing more. It wasn’t like we had shrines for them in our closets.

          For a member of persecuted minority, you’re oddly quick to persecute.

  6. Federal retirement is based on law. The university does not decide on retirement $ but what is the law. Currently there are two federal retirement plan. The old one, Civil Service and the new one, FERS = Federal Employee Retirement Service. It’s based on pay and etc. IKJ is probably under CS. It’s not a reflection of federal employee nationwide, but rather on salary earned. When I retire, I wont get a lot, cuz it’s gonna be based on my three high salary. Then the other portion of my FERS is my contribution to the “401K” and finally my SS. CS do not get SS from government salary, but they do get SS if they worked in private industry. BOT has no say in IKJ’s retirement package, fyi.

    • This, of course, contradicts the info provided by Gallaudet.

      Yes, federal employees do build up a plan, but IKJ’s retirement benefit was given a hefty additional amount supposedly as a token for his service. Likely the inept BOT did not know that would make him the highest paid retired federal employee.

  7. Plus…Civil Service employees, I believe, some of them are able to contribute to the Thrift Savings Plan which is part of FERS, they could in essence put in a lot to get lots of retirement $$ and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what happened with IKJ. He had enough money to invest in 401K. Unlike many employees in my grade level, who are able to only put in 1-5% of our pay into 401K.

    • Thanks for the links, but comparing the president of UC (187,000 students) with Gallaudet’s (less than 1,000 under grads) is not a convincing argument for “up there” pensions. In the U of Ill case, there is a dispute of whether the person should be allowed that extra pension and again, bigger school. In the Ohio State case, it’s not even near IKJ’s pension amount. Again, larger school.

      No matter how you slice it, IKJ was overpaid.

  8. What an awful article. First I do not support his salary but what’s VRS fraud got to do with anything? Why not say [insert random crime in Chicago] has something to do with [insert random pension in Florida] because both are male? That’s how your logic works. Furthermore, you bring in other factors to try such as English literacy, having no regard as to why (on a college mainly consisting of Deaf people). It shows you’re not versed in second languages, composition of the Deaf brain and so forth. Again, you are attributing random facts to your pension story because it happens to belong to an entire class of people. Do that with all women, men, etc and see how your logic looks.

    It goes a bit like this: wherever you were educated, your former principal doesn’t deserve any pension because you fail at basic logic.


  1. The Deaf community’s final meltdown? (Deaf babies, sign language (ASL), cochlear implants and deaf education) « The Guerrilla Angel Report by Lexie Cannes
  2. The latest on restructuring at Gallaudet University: new memo from the Provost « The Guerrilla Angel Report by Lexie Cannes

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