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Department of Interpretation Scandal at Gallaudet University #1

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Hi Dr. Metzger,

I am emailing you to share what I experienced in the cafeteria on November 10th.  My friends and I were eating dinner when the table next to us, who were all senior interpreter students, were using Sim-Com.  This is my second year at Gallaudet and I have observed the same group of people repeatedly using Sim-Com in the cafeteria. On Monday, my table and I decided enough was enough and I took on the responsibility of getting the table’s attention to ask if they could please sign. One girl, who I have learned has a strong history relating to other similar situations, immediately replied ‘do you have a problem with that?’  Her name is AK.  I then said, ‘yes… can you sign?’ and asked her ‘if she didn’t sign, where is the equality…?’  She then replied that she had a right to use English because it is her first language.

She also said repeatedly after I continued to ask her to sign, that ‘we could either: discuss the use of ASL and discuss the use of English or was I just going to make a statement?’  I still am not sure what her point was by asking me if I wanted to discuss the use of ASL and English.I don’t think there is anything to discuss…  I could tell this was not the first time she had to defend herself because her responses to me were automatic, almost scripted.  She wouldn’t even allow the points I was making to soak in.  The other interpreting students at the table were silent.  The argument did stop for about 30 seconds…

We figured that it was over and thought the hearing table was going to proceed to sign – but we were wrong.  AK continued to talk and that was when my roommate, RP, stood up and told her that it was obvious that she was only becoming an interpreter for the money and that she didn’t care about Deaf culture. (RP has had a run in with her in the past because AK interpreted for her and a group of other Deaf people and she was acting very unprofessional).  AK’s response to this was to ‘fuck off.’  RP did respond back ‘no, fuck you’ and then RP compared me with AK.  She stated that I was also an interpreting student (AK didn’t know I was also in the program until my roommate told her) and that I manage to sign day in and day out.

I stepped in again and asked her ‘why she wouldn’t sign?  That Gallaudet is the only Deaf university in the world and she won’t sign…?’  Then, AK yell/signed at me that ‘I didn’t have to tell her that because she has been here for five years!’  Things cooled off and the table then signed. The next day BD apologized to my roommate and said that AK’s attitude was unacceptable and that he wanted to talk more in depth later about what happened and that it wasn’t right for them to be using Sim-Com.  Then, on Thursday BL also apologized to my roommate saying that it wasn’t right for them to have been using Sim-Com.  We all find it very difficult to understand why AK is unwilling to accept this and seems to be very content remaining ignorant and unapologetic for her behavior.

This entire argument was unnecessary.  There is only one reason it happened and it’s because of AK’s bad attitude.  I feel it is absolutely necessary that you know about this situation. After telling two of my teachers this story and many of my friends, every single person knew exactly which girl I had this argument with before I even described her. I personally do not think the Deaf community, the interpreting world or Gallaudet needs this kind of attitude representing them.  Also, to hear that this student has been complained about in the past and continues to act this way frightens me.
Thank you, KO

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2 responses

  1. While in my lifetime, I did encounter people like this and this really triggered me off. Why does the hearing people have to comment that way? This is hearing world or the world we all live in regards of the disability?

  2. I think AK only wants to have attention. Perhaps as a first step, is to just leave the table when she joins in the table. And just ignore her when she talks and talks and just keep on signing with each other. After all, action speaks louder than words.

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