Saturday, July 17, 2010

AFA Letter sent to NTID President Search Committee

(letter AFA sent to the NTID Search committee via their Co-Chairs - Miller and Kurz)

27 February 2010

Greetings to the NTID Presidential Search Committee,

It is our understanding that one of the responsibilities of the NTID Presidential Search Committee will be to put together the position description. As a grassroots community organization, Audism Free America (AFA* hopes that the Committee will solicit feedback from campus community as well as the Deaf community at large in the process of choosing the next NTID President.

Input from the stakeholders about the job description as well as each candidate has proven to be very important for Gallaudet presidential searches, and should also be important for this search.

We request that the Search Committee members remain mindful of the fact that NTID’s 1992 Strategic Plan was to “recognize, study, and use English and American Sign Language as languages of the educational community..” Given this, it would be of utmost importance for the next NTID President to have bilingual skills in ASL and English. Furthermore, a record of commitment to bilingual education needs to be part of the experience that a viable candidate would bring to the position.

In addition, it is clear that the next President needs to be a person willing to take on the challenges of audism, both inside the Institute and as an ambassador to the outside. Thus, the Committee should actively examine each candidate’s history related to advocating against policies and procedures that 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.

A summary of qualities that potential candidates for the next President of NTID should possess include:

• The ability to communicate effectively in American Sign Language.

• Demonstration of a cultural view of Deaf people rather than a pathological view.

• A commitment to addressing audism and promoting its recognition in social and educational contexts.

• Experience with Deaf/Hard of Hearing students from a variety of cultural backgrounds, with preference that the individual be a member of a disenfranchised group.

• Record of promoting educational programming which uses/values BOTH ASL and English. Knowledge of Bilingual pedagogical strategies. Fluent use of ASL and English, experience in Deaf and hearing cultural contexts.

• knowledge of educational reform movements and a record as an innovative change agent in educational programs with Deaf/Hard of Hearing students.

• a visionary in terms of what NTID could become, with experience in making significant changes in an educational institution.

• A visible and active member of the Deaf community both nationally and internationally—or demonstrates the potential to become such a presence.

We wish you the best in the process of creating a job description, which will solicit the best candidates to serve NTID, and actively work to fulfill the vision of RIT as an innovative Institution.

Let Freedom Roll,


*Audism Free America (AFA) is a grassroots Deaf activist organization in the US, which advocates for Deaf American rights, cultural resurgence, and seeks primarily to challenge the ideological foundations of audism in America. Audism is attitudes and practices based on the assumption that behaving in the ways of those who speak and hear is desired and best. It produces a system of privilege, thus resulting in stigma, bias, discrimination, and prejudice—in overt or covert ways—against Deaf culture, American Sign Language, and Deaf people of all walks of life. AFA is committed to: 1. human and linguistic rights of Deaf people 2. unmasking audism and media misrepresentation 3. advocating for future generations