Students, faculty and staff of Gallaudet University, the world's only liberal arts college for the deaf, yesterday moved their battle to unseat the school's new hearing president to Congress, which controls the university's purse strings.

Rep. David E. Bonior (D-Mich.), a member of Gallaudet's board who favored hiring a hearing-impaired president, said yesterday he fears the controversy over Sunday's appointment of Elisabeth Ann Zinser could hurt future federal funding of the university. The federal government provides more than 75 percent of Gallaudet's $76 million annual budget.

Bonior, the chief deputy majority whip in the House, noted that Senate Minority Leader Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) and House Majority Whip Tony Coelho (D-Calif.) already have taken strong stands in sympathy with the protesting students. Vice President Bush also supported the selection of a deaf president for the 2,300-student university in Northeast Washington.

"I'm concerned it has the potential to hurt the funding of the university, especially when you have leaders from both parties going out of their way to express themselves on this," Bonior said.

Bonior, who is taking part in private meetings to try to resolve the controversy, said he intends to impress upon Zinser the problems she will face in taking the job "and see whether she is indeed interested in coming into an environment that is as hostile as it is."

However, Bonior declined to say whether he would attempt to persuade Zinser to give up the post.

"It's just important for the institution and the people who go to Gallaudet to feel a sense of pride for one {of their own} rising to the top," he said.

In an interview yesterday, Gallaudet board Chairman Jane Bassett Spilman acknowledged that "pressure is mounting on Capitol Hill."

"Bonior has been a superb champion of Gallaudet and of deaf people and an active member of the board of trustees," Spilman said. "He has been intimately involved with Gallaudet and concerned that classes are not taking place as usual, that there are demonstrations and there is so much pain."

Almost immediately after Zinser, vice chancellor of student affairs at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, was selected as the new Gallaudet president at a board of trustees meeting Sunday night, students and other members of the deaf community began to demonstrate. For the last several weeks, they had been actively campaigning for the selection of a deaf person to be named president of the world-renowned college. Although two of the three finalists for the job were deaf, Zinser -- who has no hearing impairment and does not know sign language -- was chosen.

On Monday, more than 500 protesters shut down the campus at Florida Avenue and Eighth Street NE and later met in a stormy session with Spilman and other board members. The students are demanding that Zinser be replaced with a deaf president, that Spilman resign as head of the 20-member board of trustees, that a majority of the board members be deaf and that there be no punishment of students, faculty and staff members who have taken part in the protests.

Although the college was open yesterday, it appeared that a student boycott of classes left many classrooms nearly empty. Gallaudet public relations associate Barbara Dennis said that attendance figures were not available, but student participants said that their boycott was more than 90 percent effective.

While the rallies and marches that had marked Monday's tumultuous events continued throughout the campus, it appeared that Capitol Hill is the next target. More than 200 members of the university faculty and staff met yesterday with student protesters to organize a lobbying campaign to influence Congress, which provides $62.2 million of the university's $76 million total budget.

"We're planning to write letters, make phone calls, call on other deaf schools around the country to support the student demands," said Debra Siel, an academic counselor who participated in the morning meeting.

In addition to Bonior, two other members of Congress serve on Gallaudet's board, Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Steve Gunderson (R-Wis.). None of the three participated in Sunday's vote.

Spilman said yesterday she has not heard from Inouye or Gunderson since Zinser was selected as president. In a letter he wrote to the board before the decision, Inouye said "he was aware of the desire of the deaf community to have the seventh president be a deaf person," Spilman said. "He said he could see many positive things to be gained from this, but he had full confidence that the board would vote in the best interests of the university."

Spilman, who has been on the board seven years, said she "was surprised by the intensity of the reaction to the board's decision. I knew there would be severe disappointment, deep disappointment. I did not expect this."

Nevertheless, Spilman said she was convinced that the board had voted in the best interests of the university and that it intended to stand by that decision.

Over the last several days, Spilman has been repeatedly criticized by members of the deaf community for her alleged insensitivity toward deaf people and her failure to recognize the deaf as a minority culture within American society. Yesterday, she and Zinser were hanged in effigy at the main gate to the campus; later the figures were burned in a bonfire near the entrance.

Allen Sussman, a deaf professor of psychology at Gallaudet, was among five speakers at an afternoon rally on the university campus that was attended by several hundred people. Speaking through an interpreter, Sussman told the cheering crowd, "The time has come for the plantation mentality, which has for so long controlled this institution and others serving the deaf, to end."

Sussman also said, "Deaf people have for too long been oppressed, and this action by the board of trustees was simply the last straw."

Another speaker, Gerald Burstein, president of the Gallaudet University Alumni Association, told the rally that "members of the board who lack confidence in the abilities of deaf persons have no business serving on the Gallaudet University Board and should resign."

Spilman, who said she was "not aware of the feeling among the deaf that I had been insensitive to them," said she would resign if the board requested it.

"I will do so with alacrity. But until the board reaches that decision, I must stay," she said.