Gallaudet University: A Signing Community?

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Honestly, as three days ago, when I was at Library of Congress to see private collections of old letters hand-written by Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, Sophia Fowler Gallaudet, Edward Miner Gallaudet, Laurent Clerc, the list goes on—to help out a friend for PhD dissertation.

ASL stands for American Sign Language. They all had the goal: ASL-centered, ASL-oriented, ASL-controlled for Deaf people who comes from all walks of life. Between 1815 and 1847 letters, they all were fierce. They knew that sign language is the best and powerful to overcome intellectual oppression. The very same letters I read, where Sophia writes to T.H. Gallaudet:

I love Laurent Clerc. I love seeing his signs.”

Sophia became the matron for Gallaudet University. Without the matron of Gallaudet University, sign language would not be there. Sophia knew sign language was the pivotal moment.

That was the goal to see ASL everywhere on Gallaudet campus and that was all they wanted. That was the bottom line. That was it. Sign language changed Sophia’s life forever. That was history in the making!

Laurent Clerc and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet sailed together for destination back to America. They both knew that sign language have the power to directly represent and protect the interests. They stood true until their death.

Gallaudet University, the world’s first university for Deaf, to claim Deaf people’s intellectual life to ASL across the educational landscape and reject oppression practice; Hearing people with hearing privileges walk and talk around on the Gallaudet campus, insulting ASL that should be appreciated our language, that is ASL within the institution of higher education.

ASL is a step in the direction of intellectual equity, as the huge banner rolls out front of parking garage at Gallaudet University across from Union Market, makes an official statement that it is signing community. Can we really see Gallaudet University an ASL-centered university only? We need to make sure Gallaudet University as an ASL-centered needs to make a clear sense of what ASL is used for so that we are in a position to navigate Gallaudet as an ASL community. Signing is like mode of communication. Signing can be Sim-Com. Oh yeah, Sim-Com is still practiced at Gallaudet. It is better to use ASL instead of signing.

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Yet, there are hearing people who talk without sign language, oppressing ASL on the campus that is supposed to be sacred for Deaf people. Please look at my most previous post, Signing Community: Hypocrism at Best where seven videos were sent to me by several Deaf people who felt insulted.

Why do you think Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet went all the way to England to join in the audience and witness Deaf people signing and writing on stage, and that was where T.H. Gallaudet shook hands with Abbe Sicard—the history of all the Deaf is the most beautiful thing! Is Gallaudet University enough ASL-centered with instruction and scholarship?

The huge banner “We are Gallaudet University: A Signing Community” needs to examine more and I mean, really deep in heart. Audism is not allowed at Gallaudet University. It is a big problem! When hearing people talk on the campus designed for Deaf people, is exactly the struggle for Deaf community to feel oppressed. The latter attitude is that the term “oppression” has been most invisible mirror, oppressing ASL and Deaf people.

Should we allow language hegemony by hearing people? Deaf people had fought hard for ASL. We all cannot deny that. Is it intellectual oppression? Behind the university gates, oppression is everywhere and that is embarrassment. There is no way Gallaudet University should not allow people talking and insulting ASL, its linguistic and cultural heritage of the Deaf, period.

Again, “We are Gallaudet University: A Signing Community”–Can they really be honest with themselves? When hearing people talk on campus, they do not see ASL as a human and it continues to be oppressed. Deaf people are hurt. Deaf people are suffering. That is the real answer.

 

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We cannot forget the passion in ASL. That’s our mother tongue. After all, we are the ones to push for change. No more Audism! If they use that banner, then the major point of using ASL on the campus is to transform the language and culture to intellectual life. That’s how it is supposed to work. ASL is intellectual property and that is it matters the most……for Deaf people whose ownership is ASL first on the campus.

Again, please be honest with yourself. Gallaudet University is not a signing community. Not yet. It is better if the banner says: Gallaudet University is an ASL community.

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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Why Library of Congress Matters Ever in the Age of Deaf Education

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Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.: Guardian of the private collections. There is nothing better than this unique place. The principles at play are much larger than this. I believe in mother of all libraries. Indeed, growing up where I usually carry library card with me all the time, the experiences as a library supporter, my experiences studying in libraries, and by researching, reading, and writing has informed my belief in the ideal that library system, that will greatly benefit of, in the ranks of information that has often quickly forgotten how important it is.

It is with a heartfelt debt of gratitude that I grabbed for the vote of confidence in electing to do this opportunity. I was helping out a friend for PhD dissertation, and I am humbly entrusted with the responsibility of helping out this. Access to private collections is generally limited to those engaged in higher learning studies.

All the books I’ve read about Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, Sophia Fowler Gallaudet, Edward Miner Gallaudet, Laurent Clerc, and others long before I moved to DC, but nothing will ever replace this. Now I got to witness hand-written letters by the very same people above. Incredible experience!

Until today, walking into Library of Congress to do academic research for the full day, has advanced issues of importance to Deaf community for truth results why American Sign Language (ASL) shall kept strong, vibrant, and resilient who care about the safety and wellness of where Deaf community live and about each other and how we can grow.

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The collections of documents about Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and Edward Miner Gallaudet papers with hundreds and hundreds of letters goes back to 1806 to 1847, was incredible experience. I got to see the old letters written by Sophia Fowler Gallaudet whom she wrote a letter to T.H. Gallaudet had possibly made a history changer in Deaf Education. Sophia was born Deaf, and there was no Deaf schools in America that time. Sophia was a great writer, beautiful writing, indeed! Intellect. She was a matriarch in Deaf Education.

She writes: (keep in mind, it is not exactly accurate words, but I’ll do my best)

I love Laurent Clerc. I really loved [learning or seeing?] signs”

That might be the earliest birth of bilingualism (ASL/Written English) proficiency in my opinion. Sophia was definitely a thinker after reading the handwritten letters to T.H. Gallaudet and she knew that the importance of sign language in Deaf Education would be much needed in the sustained, systematic, and reflective thinking about the language and Deaf culture.

Laurent Clerc must be an amazing signer, that brought concepts and beliefs in any subject to see what is good and reasonable to believe about it, and why. That must have gotten Sophia to invest in love with sign language to understand expression, and shows that ASL is empirical and observable than ever today.

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That letter written to Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet proved that sign language tends to examine data and evidence already available, usually trying to put ASL into a clear and reasonable perspective, rather than to seek new data.

After all, bilingualism is the best thing. Modes of communication are considered to be a waste of mental energy, for no useful purpose. Bilingualism is a path that can be embraced. It might be a process quite foreign to many of us, but today, the peer pressure of western medical and technological science has pursued a path of restoration of hearing through amplification and cochlear implants, but they do not produce healthy path for Deaf people.

It is best to learn ASL and written English will make ALL the difference. Early life of bilingualism would begin great storytellers and create their layer inner richness as human beings. It develops an understanding of sign language, which makes a better human being.

In Sophia’s words to T.H. Gallaudet about Laurent Clerc is the most powerful means by values of Deaf culture are passed on. The formation of Deaf child’s identity is so important with ASL and written English where the stories that both mirror and appreciate that language and culture, and it is our responsibility to push for stronger bilingualism principles.

That is what Sophia wanted.

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.

The Washington Monument of Higher Education for Deaf Students

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130 years ago, on October 9, 1888—the Washington Monument finally built after 40 years of battles. It was also a battle for Deaf people during that time from 1848-1888.

Imagine in 1848, Deaf people would have struggle with learning enhancements in higher education and hungry for Deaf education, and it was a battle for sure. National Deaf-Mute College (now Gallaudet University) did not built until 1864. Between 1848 and 1865, the politics were heavy invested, standing up for America’s values while dealing with Civil War must have been mind-boggling on Deaf non-students and Deaf students.

The Washington Monument was built in honor of first American president; it was also world’s tallest stone structure and tallest obelisk, it stands 555 feet high. Imagine Deaf students from Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb went down there and took the courage to walk all the way to the top and see the view of Washington, D.C. including the sighting of world’s first college for Deaf students. What were their thoughts when they grabbed the opportunity to see the beacon of higher education?

At the same time, think about pain and struggles what Deaf people had gone through. One year before the Washington Monument was opened to the public, Alexander Graham Bell founded Volta Bureau, the center to teach Deaf to erase their identity by controlling their lives for profits. Eight years before the Monument, Oralism spread the fires and banned sign languages around the world, and what would it look like when it happened during the days of Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb in 1880.

Picture this. The Oralism Monument: 555 feet high—the dominance of Deaf people’s lives. College Hall: The elevation is 75 feet. 75 feet x 7.4=555 feet.

It would take 7.4 ‘College Halls’ to overcome the power and influence over Deaf people to make Alexander Graham Bell happy. During that time, president of the college, Edward Miner Gallaudet stood fiercely strong against Alexander Graham Bell’s push for Oralism.

The Edward Miner Gallaudet Residence, which now as House One where Gallaudet University presidents live there, imagine what EMG was sitting there on a chair thinking how to make now Gallaudet University an ASL-centered more than ever. The biggest question, did EMG ever visit the Washington Monument and grabbed the view at the top of 555 feet and understood the higher education and protect ASL for Deaf students today and tomorrow? Which place would be first thing for EMG to look for on the top of world’s tallest building? Or was Washington, DC filled with trees that cannot see the view of now Gallaudet University?

It must have been high road for Deaf students to walk all the way to the top of Washington Monument to defy odds and show the world that Deaf people can do anything. It was all about unleashing the hidden power of language bigotry and hegemony.

One more thing, the reason behind Washington Monument came together in our neighborhoods, universities, workplaces, and communities to keep the dreams open for Deaf students of understanding, personal interactions that will make them better educators and share their life experiences to build higher education and human connections in any shape.

The tallest university obelisk goes to Laurent Clerc who inspired Deaf America today and tomorrow. Can it ever be funded?

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-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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Honors Program: Carl Schroeder’s Legacy

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Honors programs on colleges and universities are designed to become stronger academicians who are seeking for motivated students—-Gallaudet University is based on the educational philosophy that Deaf people have diversity potential to learn, thrive, and succeed. The goal is to find the way in which each Deaf individual learns best to grow and success. Gallaudet University is a federally funded, private institution for Deaf intellectuals.

As I learned that in 1960, University of Oregon was the first high academic university to create Honors program where many colleges and universities follow the model and still do today.

In late 1970s, Student Body Government (SBG) Director of Academic Affairs, Carl Schroeder lit the light in the room by putting a seed on Gallaudet College campus: Honors program. He was the one who started it all. A year later, Carl was selected as SBG president and continued to push for Honors program on the campus. After SBG presidency was done a year later, Honors program was established in thanks to Carl Schroeder’s leadership.

Carl became the key merit who brought the Honors program that changed the face of Gallaudet for intellectual discourses to inspire Deaf students’ thinking capabilities. He was quite an innovator in the academic world. Did Gallaudet College that time or Gallaudet University today honors Carl’s name for creating the idea to discover the root causes of academic honesty?

Carl understood the learning environment on Gallaudet College campus in 1981, where the school campus claimed to be proud of highly training Deaf students to work and learn with the professors that provides an exciting learning environment that meets students’ need to chase their goals within the field of study. The radical idea by Carl brings the educational goal to make Gallaudet University a better place to make a stronger chronicle of higher learning.

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The way I see after reading the Buff and Blue interview with Carl in 1990 [September 21], see why he thought of an idea about the Honors program on the campus to expose their ideas in the lifelong learning process that is the essence of our literacy, even in American Sign Language (ASL) literature, too. That was one of Carl’s best works to contribute Gallaudet community that helped students in Honors program to thrive their future. It was beautiful thing, a human connection. You cannot beat that. You just cannot…..

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I now see why Honors program had changed the lives of Deaf students forever—Deaf society, our culture, the intellectual discourses has undergone dramatic change just within our lives. When I learned by that reading Blue and Buff article the day before today, I was blown away and I absolutely had no idea that Carl engaged in his activism to optimize change to thrive character, fellowship, leadership, and scholarship in creating Honors program. When Carl sent me this picture below via text message two weeks, he was resting at home before December 18th.

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Who would have done without Carl’s ideas? That is the gateway to knowledge. It is also set of fearless ideas to inspire social change. That is how it works. Who would have done it if it was not Carl? Where is the legacy on his part?

Four years ago today, Carl N. Schroeder passed away in state of Oregon. His existence must not be forgotten. His works and contribution in Deaf community cannot be neglected. His soul will not be missed. Oregon as the founding innovator of ‘Honors program’ felt Carl’s presence by how he helped Gallaudet University grow with the program. Isn’t life supposed to work in mysterious ways?

The honors of this world, what are they but puff, and emptiness, and peril of falling?”-St. Augustine.

 

-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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AGBell: His First Collegiate Degree

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“….the fact remains that the first collegiate degree received by the famous inventor of the telephone came from the National Deaf Mute College.”-[Atwood, Gallaudet College: It’s First One Hundred Years]
 
Red flag. What does it mean Alexander Graham never received a formal college degree nowhere–but only National Deaf Mute College? What does it mean? Is that why Gallaudet University is still Audist? What kind of profiting is that? Bell’s contribution becomes top secret in Gallaudet’s money. What does it mean when a college degree becomes guarantor of audist-class existence?
 
We need to be vigilant and resist against Audist mazes. The million question: Who awarded Alexander Graham Bell the degree? Was it Edward Miner Gallaudet?
 
We need to be vigilant and resist the mazes of Audism.
 

-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.