SUNY Ulster: Offer Quality ASL Classes Every Semester!

SUNY Ulster: Offer Quality ASL Classes Every Semester!

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Stephanie Pushman started this petition to Department Chair of English Foreign Languages, and Philosophy Candice Van Dyke- London and

NOTE: THIS ISSUE IS TIME SENSITIVE AND NEEDS IMMEDIATE ATTENTION! 

PLEASE also consider contacting both the chair of the English, Foreign Language, and Philosophy department AND the Vice President by phone and/or by email to complain that ASL classes are not being offered in the spring AND to let them know the importance of keeping Dr. Delora on their faculty in order to assure that a proper ASL/Deaf Culture/Interpreting program is created. Contact information is as follows:

Candice Van Dyke- London: Department Chair of English Foreign Languages, and Philosophy: Phone: 845.687.5161 Email: vandykec@sunyulster.edu

Kevin Stoner: Vice President/Academic Affair
Academic Affairs Phone: 845-687-5040 Email: stonerk@sunyulster.edu

 

Just under a year ago, Ulster County Community College (UCCC), with campuses in Stone Ridge, NY and Kingston, NY hired their first ever Deaf ASL professor in their continuing education department. This same professor, Dr. Jennifer Delora, went on to become the first Deaf professor in the credit department at UCCC as well. She began teaching in the credit department on August 27th and has her students have made incredible strides--after just 4 classes--in understanding both ASL and Deaf culture. Dr. Delora teaches ASL in a total immersion environment; the class is conducted entirely in ASL with no English. As a result, her students were having basic introductory conversations in their first class! Many of her students are now signing at a level more advanced than other students who have completed a full semester of ASL (again, after only 4 classes). Dr. Delora's goal is to create an entire ASL program at SUNY Ulster that provides exceptional ASL instruction, including knowledge of Deaf culture and what is happening in the local Deaf community. 

The local Deaf community is thrilled with Dr. Delora's success in making history as the first Deaf professor at UCCC and providing her students with exceptional instruction. Her students also express how much they enjoy her class and how excited they are to be learning so quickly so that they can advance to higher levels of ASL and even use ASL in their future careers. Previous students have also provided extremely positive feedback regarding Dr. Delora's classes. In fact, she has received no negative feedback from any of students at this point. 

However, Dr. Delora, as a Deaf professor, is facing relentless discrimination from the chair of the English, Foreign Language, and Philosophy Department at UCCC. She has been singled out several times and her teaching is constantly being scrutinized, despite her extremely obvious success. No other teachers in the department are facing this type of treatment from the chair of the department. Rather, they are treated as the authority on the subject matter that they teach. Dr. Delora, who is extremely qualified to teach ASL needs to be given the same respect. 

Despite Dr. Delora's rapid success and her efforts to create a top of the line ASL program at UCCC, she is now being told that her current class will not be offered in the spring semester because it "does not align with the department anymore". She was also told that "there are not usually enough students to offer ASL in both the fall and spring semesters." All of Dr. Delora's classes currently have large wait lists and there is no plausible reason that ASL would not "align" with the department of foreign languages. Also, neither of these "issues" existed when a hearing person was teaching ASL classes at UCCC. What Dr. Delora is experiencing is audism, which is discrimination against Deaf people due to the belief that hearing people are superior to the Deaf. You can learn more about audism in the articles below: 

https://www.handspeak.com/culture/index.php?id=3&fbclid=IwAR1YEaYQB1YiR9jaSAfK50e-DYc1OkZoCsrSua7aK9eICzTDMXcRQWiiacQ

https://www.handspeak.com/culture/index.php?id=147&fbclid=IwAR3lwJ8Vvxo2j3uPmUpGDPyTFfpPgRIjeI8a5dwdRmoHVvRmccviABVcXzY

Audism is exactly the same as racism, sexism, etc. and needs to be treated as such. UCCC does not tolerate any other type of discrimination and we are asking that the chair of the department be appropriately disciplined for her blatant audism and that Dr. Delora's classes be offered on the same schedule as all other classes in the department. We also ask that Dr. Delora be treated with the same respect as her colleagues and be recognized, as a Deaf person, as the authority on ASL and Deaf culture. ASL is a language that belongs to the Deaf community and Deaf people will always be the authority on all ASL and Deaf culture related matters. 

Signing this petition means that you support a zero tolerance policy for discrimination in the workplace, that you believe Deaf people are the authority on ASL and Deaf culture, and that Deaf professors should be treated with the same respect as their hearing colleagues. 

Thank you for your support! 

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