Wednesday, September 16, 2009

AFA's Letter to Gallaudet BofT and PSAC

15 September 2009

Greetings to the Board of Trustees of Gallaudet University and the Presidential Search Advisory Committee,

Congratulations on naming the four final candidates for the position of President of Gallaudet University. As a grassroots community organization, Audism Free America (AFA) was encouraged by the fact that feedback from the campus community as well as the Deaf community at large has been solicited. Input from the stakeholders about each finalist has proven to be very important for the past two Gallaudet presidential searches. Hopefully, the input you receive will not be dismissed or ignored nor will there be attempts to stifle free speech and freedom of assembly prior to the final selection. No matter how qualified the person selected may be, s/he will not be able to govern the University effectively with out the support of the students, faculty, staff and alumni.

We request that Board Members remain mindful of the fact that Gallaudet University's Mission and Vision Statements include a commitment to an ASL/English bilingual educational environment. Given this, it would be of utmost importance for the Board to consider the record of commitment each candidate has made to bilingual education in her/his career, and choose the candidate who would best represent and uphold that commitment.

In addition, it is clear that the next President of Gallaudet University needs to be a person willing to take on the challenges of audism, both inside the University and as an ambassador to the outside. Thus, the Board should actively examine each candidate's history related to advocating against policies and procedures which have systematically discriminated against Deaf individuals. Many of us who work inside Deaf educational institutions have found--despite appearances to the contrary--that audism and hearing privilege are particularly rampant in these settings.

We wish you the best in selecting the finalist who will best fulfill the University's mission...and bring about real CHANGE at Gallaudet University.

Let Freedom Roll,