I had a mind-bogging conversation with Deaf professor who works at Gallaudet University and prefer ASL for communication, information, and knowledge this evening. The professor had been working there for long time, and one day, the professor was required to attend a departmental meeting. The Chair of the department is also Deaf. The department has the majority of hearing teachers. The chair had asked that Deaf professor to use voice for hearing teachers’ sake. The professor is not required to do it. Despite the professor never used voice before. Why now? Right there, it is very much oppressive and hostile environment. We all must remember: Gallaudet’s most complicated motto: “There is no other place like this in the world.” It is supposed to be most safe place in the world.
This is 2018, and Gallaudet University is practicing language bigotry and language aversion against ASL. The worst thing was coming from the chair who is Deaf has ordered that professor to use voice—do you think it is double oppression? Deaf people who uses ASL have led lives of suffering and emotional distresses within an unforgiving, if not hostile, hearing social hierarchy in the environment where ASL is marginalized and visual modes of communication forever ignored at Gallaudet University.
At the same time, we must remind ourselves that Gallaudet University is a well-known reference to the attitude of honest acceptance for the state of being Deaf. In our own language, ASL stands for much more than just ASL. It is deeper meaning is our culture, that is, Deaf culture. As we the Deaf people at Gallaudet University continue to struggle by being forced to use voice, the university becomes attuned to erratic priorities for the Deaf people.
The Deaf chair who ordered Deaf professor, where is the leadership power for empowering bias-free, stress-free, hostile-free, and success at Gallaudet University? By forcing to use voice has destroyed many Deaf people in the past to benefit not only themselves, but ASL continues to be oppressed today.
Simultaneous Communication known as SimCom will be less workable if ASL was allowed. Deaf people using ASL are smarter. SimCom will not change the foundation of ASL society; Deaf people could never adapt to a new order of the Deaf. Gallaudet University MUST never endorses any attempt to force Deaf professors to use voice. It would be like blaspheme because being state of Deaf is divinely endowed with manifestation for ASL.
That Deaf professor should not deal with emotional distress and the majority of hearing teachers in that department build their case against ASL entirely on their own speculations. These people value speculations and are serious about making academics out of them. Unfortunately, many of them have never really studied what ASL does and does not.
Their communication speculations have been misused to defend educational bankruptcy; to support linguistic and cultural colonialism; to persecute ASL against Deaf people; to support the oppression of ASL; to oppose ASL as their first choice to use language every day; to condemn Deaf people to use ASL;
We must be open to new truth about ASL at Gallaudet University. We must stop language hegemony against ASL. William Shakespeare once said, “Even the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.”
Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.
Visiting Gallaudet University for the first time. 2010. I was so sure it was my name calling for my career. I was really happy.
After spending 20+ years trying to change my life around, my late mentor Carl Schroeder and I were eating lunch at his house in rural Oregon and once asked me if I was afraid of “change for success”—I said, “Yes” then he said to me, “Do not be afraid. Gallaudet will help you and determined to get healed.” He also said to me “Humiliation will always be present. It is how you handle it makes all the difference.”
Ted Baran, Department of Public Safety Director abused his calumny of his duty by using power. He did not want my letter to get to the public. There were six people involved in the picture to make sure I get punished under the worst harsh conditions possible. I became the target of being pariah on the campus. The same six people, who were supposed to keep it confidential, did not keep their word. It has spread over the campus including my former department, ASL and Deaf Studies. What about The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FEPRA)? Not only that, but Dirksen even shared confidential information with his buddy, Robert Weinstock.
Dwight Benedict, Dean of Student Affairs and Academic Support were the biggest bully of all people. Dwight is the director for Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) while Ted is the vice president of BIT. They became very successful by blackballing me. I am now in what I would call an intellectual exile. In the meeting, Dwight calls Ted, “a good man.”
One day, Dirksen Bauman, the Chair of ASL/Deaf Studies Department, wrote me e-mail and assured me that Ted will not be in the meeting. I got fooled badly. Carl assured me to trust Dirksen before his death.
Dirksen writes me e-mail on Feb 9, 2012 at 9:54 AM, “JT—I am pleased to see that you will be joining us next year. We are looking forward to having you in the program!” Then I was encouraged to apply for a scholarship and got in touch with Dirksen on Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 1:55 PM. “A friend of mine told me about graduate scholarship fund, so I would like to submit some letters and apply for scholarship please. Thanks!”
The same day at 8:56 PM, Dirksen responded: “Hello JT. Please do let me know of your need. Thank you.”
A minute later, I quickly replied, “Hi Dirksen, where can I send the letter to you?” Four minutes later, Dirksen typed, “Me please.” After I got the letter accepting my application, I wrote him thanking him for his consideration. He said, “You’re welcome” and wrote to people I love the most to let them know about it. My mother and father were delighted to see that! I was feeling good…maybe it was one of the best feelings I ever experienced. It was very rare to see that inside my life. I was really happy.
Then one day, Dirksen asked me to meet up with him in a meeting along with Gene Mirus, a coordinator that time where he looked for me during Graduate Student Orientation and asked me to go with him. Dirksen asked me to withdraw from Gallaudet until further notice. I asked him if my scholarship would be affected. He said, “No” through ASL in a clear message. Boy, I was wrong and it was never safe.
I decided to write e-mail to Dirksen, making sure he kept his word. He writes me e-mail on April 1, 2014 at 7:33 PM, the day of April’s Fool Day. “Hello Jason, I am sure you will be hearing from the Dean soon. Thank you, Dirksen” and I got fooled very badly. It was pretty mean-spirited thing to do. My scholarship was stolen once from my hard and continuous work. The most damaging thing coming from Dirksen on January 20, 2014 at 3:50 PM writing from his office where he often sleeps a lot:
“We thank you for taking the time to meet with Dr. Erting and me last Friday. As we explained, we are working with the Behavior Intervention Team (BIT), with the goal of arriving at a consensus regarding to your admission to the University. We have been meeting and deliberating on this matter and had very positive and constructive meetings. We appreciate your patience; we are fully aware that this is not an easy process for you. We hope that you continue to demonstrate the resolve and determination that you have to this date…Thank you, Dirksen.”
Six people were: Carol Erting, Dean of Graduate Program and Professional Studies, Lauri Rush, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), Carl Pramuk, Associate Director of Student Conduct, Dirsken, Ted, and Dwight. Six people: Four of them are hearing that are sound-oriented. Audism at best.
Dwight said in the meeting that he understood that I have been walking under the “black cloud”. That was very dehumanizing and offensive. Plantation mentality. Policing me around. Character assassination. Dwight made sure that I appear in a ‘black book’ of shame. The image on the below right side: Remember the book, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne?
Ted required me to inform people every time I enter into classroom as a student, giving presentation, or anywhere, telling them that I was jailed and tell them the reason every time. Dwight really liked the idea. That calls for suicide on my watch. Dirksen did not object. Carol did not object. Lauri did not object. Carl did not object. They all liked the idea of pushing more for “Scarlet Letter” on my forehead. A public shaming. Evil, revenge, and identity.
I was beyond dismayed. Of course, I objected. What do you expect? Ted said, “Why not?” and realized how much hatred he spewed on front of my face. Top of all, Dwight’s secretary, Karen Evans wrote an e-mail to me in 2014, “Be assured that the meeting will be productive” meaning—positive. Again, I got fooled badly.
My biggest mistake that I did not represent a lawyer with me that day in 2014. I got burned twice. This experience on that day has left me feeling vulnerable and unsure of the safety as a student at Gallaudet University I proudly called my own. Not only that experience makes me question if this is indeed bullying in the meeting. Questionable leadership.
My freedoms were restricted, and I cannot be sure it won’t happen again, and that it won’t happen for any Deaf returned citizens, the next time they apply for Gallaudet University for higher learning. Gallaudet University now feels cold, unwelcoming, and in the beginning stages of a Gallaudet secret bullying ground that is isolating enough from the truth in an unprecedented fashion.
High levels of hate and injustice have been felt in vulnerable stage as a student at Gallaudet University even the rest of Deaf community. Dwight and Ted made it happen with attributes that can be “profiled”—no one is safe from this type of unlawful campus policies.
Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.