I’ll be honest here. Before I read Ruiz’s article and the long line of comments that followed, I didn’t have a particularly strong opinion on this topic. Should we recognize Gallaudet as the Mecca of deaf people, a place where we can be the majority for once, and create rules of how, when, and where it would be unacceptable to speak rather than sign? Or should we stop battling the hearing students who come here to learn ASL and about deaf culture and treat them like the allies that they should be for us?
However, now I realize that every perspective is valuable to this discussion. I also realize that the demographics of Gallaudet is changing; we can not continue to demonstrate a militant attitude that causes new signers or hearing students feel excluded and in return, causes the deaf community to be a small and exclusive group. We must work together to expand our community by welcoming all kinds of members, regardless of their signing abilities, if we want to survive. This does not mean that we should hold ASL at a lesser value. Rather, this means that dialogues that involve the entire campus are necessary in order to understand one another and to agree on how we want to deal with this issue as a community.Is she speaking for all of Gallaudet university? It is interesting when she said "we" as in "we cannot can not continue to demonstrate a militant attitude that causes new signers or hearing students feel excluded and in return causes the deaf community to be a small and exclusive group." Is Hanaumi saying that militancy was and continues to be a problem on the campus of Gallaudet University that have caused new signers to feel excluded? Something like the Charles Wirick's case where he may have been a case of him getting "ganged up" on campus, so to speak? Also interesting is the latest poll result on whether people felt that Charles Wirick was bullied or not. Some 53% said 'yes' he was bullied versus 15% of those who said 'no.' Interesting poll result so far.
In Ruiz's article in the Buff and Blue it takes on different flavor that comes with a sense of an ultimatum to it:
Thus, a language policy must be accepted. ASL at all times. Language immersion at all times. Cultural representation at all times. No more wasting time coddling the hearing students or the Deaf students victimized by the hearing system who are not yet fluent users of ASL. It is time to rise up and unite, to recreate Gallaudet as a deaf embodiment.Wouldn't this "ASL at all times" help create and foster more militant attitudes on campus? After all, questions remain on whether Charles Wirick was a victim of "militant attitudes" on campus.
Sprouse described Wirick in frank terms. “He was raised oral without much exposure to Deaf culture and community—and here at Gallaudet he, for the most part, was an outcast. Wirick vented to me before about deaf-to-deaf audism, which enraged him. He didn’t like how Gallaudet treated him and didn’t know how to fit in the university.”Not exactly what pluralism ought to be about on campus if students are routinely faced what Charles Wirick faced when it came to communication issues and acceptance. How many students left Gallaudet University because they could not "fit in" or that they felt they were not welcomed? The idea on pluralism for Gallaudet University might prove to be a conundrum for president Hurwitz since he was elated about the rejection of the ICED Milan decision. The conundrum would lie in the acceptance of a new ICED resolution, a global call to "accept and respect all languages and all forms of communication" in the education of deaf people. Remember, all forms of communication, and not just languages only.
Let me illustrate exactly why this might be a conundrum for president Hurwitz and Gallaudet University. I'll repeat what Joseph P. Rioto said earlier in Deaf Echo regarding pluralism and the ICED resolution and what it may mean for Gallaudet University in the very near future.
I would suggest that the university takes a hard look at the concept of pluralism. Although the word is not mentioned explicitly, the concept of pluralism is very obvious in the resolution that was adopted by the International Congress on Education of the Deaf (ICED) 2010 last summer. The resolution says to respect all languages and forms of communication. I do not need to elaborate the possible consequences if the university chooses not to abide by the resolution. Some of the arguments that I have seen apparently want to reject or greatly restrict the resolution and that is a serious matter.In other words on "all forms of communication" they include CUED speech, SEE, PSE, and even oral (speech) to go along with ASL that must respected and accepted, and not restricted. Since president Hurwitz was elated about the rejection of the ICED Milan decision will he now support and embrace the new ICED resolution to respect all languages and all forms of communication at Gallaudet University and see that pluralism flourish on campus? Will he call for the end of militant ASL attitudes on campus? Will he support or be cool about "ASL at all times"? How about a call to end "hearing spaces" or a call to support it? Will president Hurwitz find a way to help end bullying on campus against those who do not "fit in"? Will he open up the Charles Wirick's case and order an in depth investigation to see whether Wirick was a victim of bullying or militant attitudes levied against him on campus? And see whether a one-year suspension against him was justified or not since bias appeared to have been against Wirick all along leading to his one year Gallaudet University suspension? Or will Gallaudet University turn a cold shoulder on the new ICED resolution calling for the concept of pluralism as implied in the resolution that was adopted by the International Congress on Education of the Deaf (ICED) 2010 last summer"?
All interesting stuff here. But will we witness president Hurwitz shoot himself in the foot soon?