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Establish an American Sign Language introductory course sequence at Cornell University

This petition had 1,033 supporters

As of 2004, 38 US states recognize American Sign Language as a foreign language, and is the predominant mode of communication in the Deaf Community. Up to 500,000 people in the United States use ASL as their primary language. According to the Modern Language Association of America, American Sign Language is the third most commonly studied language in American Institutions of Higher Education as of 2013.

Many incoming undergraduates may have taken ASL in high school and want to seek out opportunities to continue their language study. Cornell University could increase the diversity of its curriculum by offering ASL as a language of study specifically for students seeking to fulfill the College of Arts and Sciences Foreign Language Requirement while attracting students from all academic disciplines to pursue a new language.

Knowledge and experience in American Sign Language and Deaf Culture is not limited to interpreting. Its implications in almost every career setting are becoming more and more apparent. With knowledge of ASL you can see a culturally competent doctor communicating respectfully with a deaf patient and understanding deafness as a culture, not just a medical “impairment”. There will be an associate in human resources managing equal and inclusive work-space systems. An engineer or architect may be planning an accessible building and recalling concepts from a discussion about disability.  The applications of a course in ASL are limitless and go hand in hand with each academic discipline on campus. Moreover, the integration of such a course fulfills Cornell University’s mantra of “any person, any study” and dedication towards providing a rich and diverse education.

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