Gallaudet is Hearing and Speech Center, not University!


My stomach had turned recently. I feel so sick.

I must blog about this.

First, please watch the beginning of this video, especially starting at 0:07 to 0:58 seconds (the first 58 seconds) of this video, that was posted today by mikeyized called, “Deaf Gain: Reframing.”

It appears to me that this video is for the class project, The only video definition on YouTube states: “This video is for DST 705’s Reconstruction Project.” DST 705: Sign and the Philosophy of Language (3), is a three-credit Deaf Studies course offered at Gallaudet.

I left a comment on Facebook when I first saw this video, especially the first 57 seconds, I felt so sick.

“I truly think the real motivation is about profit. Hearing and Speech Center generates a LARGE AMOUNT of revenue to Gallaudet, and they want to make sure that people outside of Gallaudet can find the clinic/center without asking anyone on the campus or feeling intimidated for not knowing any sign language. If Gallaudet University is really a bilingual and multicultural University, then I want “ASL / Deaf Studies” to be posted NEXT to the Hearing and Speech Center signage! THAT IS AN EQUAL FOOTING!

Come to think of this, WWGAD? What would Gallaudet Alumni Do?

I want an equal footing of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies with Hearing and Speech Center. Both are equally important. If Gallaudet does not want to remove these signage or improve their image as bilingual and multicultural university, then I’ll raise bloody hell!

Amy Cohen Efron

71 Responses to “Gallaudet is Hearing and Speech Center, not University!”

  1. Gally2013 Says:

    Hello there,

    I am seeing the reason why we, Deaf people, cannot fight together; it all proves here on this blog. We all have different opinions and different point of views. It is just sad that Deaf people oppresses its own people just because of our background, race, sexual preferences, gender, additional disabilities, the way we sign, schools we choose, and all those silly reasons. I know this is not the point here, but if we all look closely… and see those comments, this is the whole reason WHY the DEAF COMMUNITY WILL FALL APART… if we all forget the fact that we have other races, additional disabilities, etc etc… and we all agree on what DEAF means, then we will be heard, and get what we want in a respectful way.

  2. Anonymous the Great Says:

    Excuse me, Gally2013. Not telling you how or what to think, no. here is my opinion: what’s going on here is a dialogue, not oppression. a heated, passionate dialogue. it’s OK. Just because we are the Deaf Community does not mean we all have to think the same way about the same things. The Deaf Community in the US has been going strong for centuries despite the challenges we have faced. a hot debate will not tear us apart, no sir. There’s no reason for us to agree on what DEAF means – if you’ve spent any time in the deaf blogosphere, you’d know that’s not happening! by all means, let’s advocate for what we want in a respectful way.

    I don’t suppose you know who is responsible for the direction signs to the HSC, and can you go to that person and talk about it? since you are currently a student, it appears. just curious.

    I’m betting that person will tell you it’s all a big conspiracy and that the cochlear implant manufacturers, surgeons, and other components of “Big Ear” paid for them. any takers?

  3. Kokonut Pundit: Patient dear... Says:

    […] Will Be Towed." That sign is located on the campus of Gallaudet University. One commenter starts first: The most disturbing of all signposts shown in the video is “Hearing & Speech Center : […]

  4. Dianrez Says:

    It seems that what started to be criticism of a lack of sensitivity has turned into a furious dialogue that jumped to other blogs.

    Especially from anti-cultural people who hold a mindset that deafness is a disability best viewed within a medical framework. This type leaped with glee at the chance to negate the criticism and ridicule the respondents.

    In doing so, they harmed themselves by attempting to tear down the idea that Deaf People are to be respected as any other group. They went to bat for hearing people who see only one aspect of deaf people: the medical. They see nothing wrong with omitting Deaf people from sharing in decisions such as signage. They call Deaf people “babies” for refusing to accept the “patient” label.

    What can be done about this divide? Dialogue isn’t effective as long as they stubbornly hold the deafness-as-disability mindset and Deaf people insist on upholding a cultural environment.

    It’s important for the wider community to see Gallaudet as a cultural incubator, so opening the campus to incoming community members for services is one step.

    Surrounding them with a cultural, not medical orientation is the next step.

    Remove the “clinic” and “patient” verbiage and cancel all mindsets connected with it. Use different words such as “New Thornberry Communications Center” for the signage. Include ASL in every offering of the clinic and have Deaf employees constantly visible. Make it a truly comprehensive facility and it will fit perfectly in the cultural atmosphere. Else, locate it across the street on its own campus.

  5. Amy Says:




  6. cynthia nagy Says:

    Right, BINGO to Dianrez!

  7. InsaneMisha Says:






    She hit right on the nail….THAT! THAT! Exactly that! She said it ALL!


  8. Ann_C Says:

    I’m wondering if readers are aware that the hearing and speech clinic is part of the university’s Hearing, Speech, and Language Sciences Department?

    Quoted from the above link:

    “The Hearing, Speech, and Language Sciences Department at Gallaudet University serves many functions and responsibilities within the University by:

    Providing graduate training in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology;
    Offering a range of clinical services to the Gallaudet and metropolitan DC communities;
    Offering undergraduate courses relating to speech, hearing and consumerism; it offers graduate courses in audiology and amplification to other Departments on campus;
    Supporting research aimed at a broad range of areas affecting deaf and hard of hearing individuals.”

    Note that “offering a range of clinical services to the Gallaudet and metropolitan DC communities” means the hearing and speech clinic housed on the second floor of the Sorensen bldg.

    For those of you who wish to discuss the signage issue with Gally’s Dept. of Hearing, Speech and Languages:

    Dr. Matthew Bakke Ph.D.
    Contact: Victoria King
    Sorenson Language and Communication Center (SLCC) 2200

    TTY: 202-651-5329
    Voice: 202-651-5329
    Fax: 202-448-7144


    No offense, but a number of patients may get confused about the wording of such-and-such Communications Center. Communications center can mean anything, I mean I have seen public libraries refer to their computer rooms as communications centers, for example. Too ambiguous unfortunately. Some patients need to have it spelled out as obviously as possible, as in hearing and speech center or clinic, to understand where they need to be directed to.

    I’m not against the clinic offering ASL courses in addition to the other services, as such an offering can possibly help some deaf patients and their relatives with communication needs.

    As for removing the clinic off campus and relocating it elsewhere, that would be a rather costly move for Gally to do so. And considering the tight budget constraints the school is facing, I don’t see that in the near future.


  9. Ann_C Says:

    Forgot to add that Dr. Bakke is the chair of the Hearing, Speech and Languages Dept.

    The info can be seen on the link I provided.


  10. (e Says:

    Amy was just expressing how the signs made her feel. I don’t understand why some people are making a big deal about this, to the point of attacking others.

    I don’t have much of an opinion, because I have not been to Gallaudet University recently, and the signs do not provoke a strong reaction from me. Actually, they don’t bother me at all. But, I can understand why some would be upset with the signs, especially with how the video present them.

    I do have to ask, for those who are extremely upset by these signs, What do you want Gallaudet University to do about this? And what do you think will happen if they take these signs down? Have you been to Gallaudet recently (less than a year) and actually seen these signs? Maybe they are not so overwhelmingly present as they are portrayed in the video.


  11. Isabela Says:

    I think that these signs are demeaning to non-signers because they need to see a sign at every turn in order to get to the Hearing and Speech Center. It makes the students at Gallaudet who are proud signers seem intelligent enough to navigate a campus. If those geniuses that don’t want to accept that they are deaf need a sign then so be it. That is what the message to the general public should be about these signs, not that Gallaudet is focusing on hearing and speech. Of course Gallaudet has ASL programs. That is obvious considering that it is a University for the deaf. Do you guys really think that anybody with a grain of sense would think that Gallaudet does not have sign language programs. You guys are making a huge issue out of nothing.

  12. RF Walker Says:

    First – Dianrez – so good to see you still at it though I no longer ‘blog’.

    Saw the video and read the following comments with interest. I’d have to say that the excessiveness of these signs can play a significant part in sending mixed messages at the best. Of course – WE know better (quick smile). But for new students (especially the hearing ones) and those of the general public who lack a background in deafness, are apt to have some degree of influence stemming from oversaturation of said signs. In a way, it’s an insidious approach on their part – or rather, can be construed as such.

    Either way, questions DOES need to be raised on this issue – and confronted.

    Go with it, Amy – and anyone else who can flex some muscle.


    RF Walker

  13. Jean Boutcher Says:

    Amy’s being upset about the first 58 seconds of the video in which so many signposts, Hearing and Speech Center – Patients Parking Only. Violators Will Be TowedViolated are shown is not only quite understandable but also very reasonable. Oxford’s English Dictionary defines “patient” as “one who receives medical treatment.”

    Ann_C’s use of a word, “clinic”, somewhere here has also compelled me to quote Oxford English Dictionary: (1) “clinic is a facility, associated with a hospital, that deals mainly with outpatients; (2) “a medical establishment run by specialists; (3) a training session in which medical session in which medical students observe the examination and treatment of patients.” Therefore, learning the American Sign Language is definitely not clinical. Learning ASL is like learning French, Spanish, or German.

    Georgetown University, where Daddy studied foreign languages and linguaphones is not a language clinic; rather, it is a facility called “the Foreign Service”. The same is true with Gallaudet University where non-signers learn the American Sign Language: “The Deaf Studies Program and ASL”– not “The ASL Clinic”.

  14. Ann_C Says:

    Jean Boutcher,

    It is the Hearing and Speech Center, (not Clinic), but it provides clinical services as stated in the department page of Gally’s website link that I provided above.

    The center doesn’t offer ASL courses for its patients as yet. At least there is nothing on the Hearing and Speech Center’s website page that indicates it offers ASL in addition to its other services. That was a suggestion that others have made in this blog and something I also agree with. It would be up to the department of Hearing, Speech, and Language Sciences to determine how ASL would be offered and what kind of service it would be called, should it adopt such a suggestion. I doubt that such an offering of ASL courses in the center would fall under Deaf Studies or medical services, these courses would be just for those deaf patients and their relatives who need an alternative means to communicate. Such patients could be late-deafened recently, such as the Iraqi war vets who sustained hearing losses in combat duty, for example. I guess what I’m thinking is that ASL in such a setting would be a remedial service. If such patients learn initial ASL language, they then could continue learning the language through the courses offered at the university, if they wished.


  15. SK3 Says:

    Gallaudet offers many ways for people to learn ASL. The Hearing and Speech Center doesn’t need to offer classes — it would be a duplication of services already offered at Gallaudet. They can direct people where to go if they are interested in learning ASL.

    They DO offer many types of communication therapies for people who are losing their hearing, who want to learn better communication strategies, learn about new technologies that can help them make use of the hearing they do have, and just deal more effectively with communication. The new reality of Gallaudet is that our students are included. They come from all different backgrounds, and while we do all we can to help them learn and become fluent ASL users, we also realize that many of them also want to make use of the hearing they DO have. There’s nothing audistic or oppressive about this. Why not let them use all they tools they possibly can to get along in the world? Half of the students on campus are walking around with headphones on or earbuds in their ears to listen to their iPods. Shouldn’t Gallaudet also be there to help them get the most out of their hearing as possible if that’s what the students want?

  16. MZ Says:

    *shaking my head* at those who keep skirting the real issue. nobody is being fooled. The reality is there for everybody to see, as much as some people want to deny it.

    the truth is ugly, isn’t it?

    i’m not going to play the dance of denial. i have too much respect for culturally deaf people.

  17. Dianrez Says:

    MZ, right you are. My heart sank every time the drum of medicalization of deafness was beat in this blog.

    Some people just don’t get it.

    When that happens, it is dangerous to give in and allow unthinking majority upholders to steamroll over the groundswell of Deaf integrity. When sensitivity techniques and cultural education fails, the only thing left is to push back.

    When students and faculty at NTID asked that the AGBell name and plaque be removed from a residence hall. It took several years of increasing pressure. The powers tried a lot of political posturing to keep it, but eventually respect for Deaf won.

    Progress can only be made when there is positive action to change peoples’ perceptions.

  18. MZ Says:

    Dianrez, you see… not only do some people get it, they are also fine with it. this is why some are busy protecting the hearing system while invalidating the valid concerns of culturally Deaf people.

    That’s why all hell broke loose. they didn’t like it when the hearing system was challenged regarding the respect to Deaf people and sign language.

    “After all, we live in the hearing world”

  19. MZ Says:

    Kinda ironic, isn’t it? FCC will provide an ASL format for their proposal in two weeks due to a request by the Deaf Community for full accessibility. Yet Gallaudet doesn’t provide full accessibility to sign language in its holiday geeting video.

  20. Michael K Bunjer Says:

    It is wrong to even allow hearing people run the Gallaudet Campus literally. The biggest proof is that there is a hearing & speech center on campus. It is a big wide world, and all about AUDISM. Its nothing but all about oppression being obvious. If you people really think its offensive to have a speech & hearing center on campus you people would be protesting already. So far, no one is protesting so it is pretty safe to say that you people don’t really care. All of you are just talking cheap doing nothing about it. I would be wasting my time anyway.. By the way, if you protest like before.. Hearing people are the ones who would decide what is best for Gallaudet as usual and get away with it like before to have it their way! If there are any Deaf on the board of trustees, they are puppets anyway. Subalterns (Deaf) only please hearing people and tell Deaf to chill out or take it easy. Its obvious most of you all are in submission to the hearing folk. By the way.. Merry Xmas and Happy New Year and I won’t be suprised if nothing will change significantly. I would hope that I am wrong! The only way to be right from the wrong is to: Take Gallaudet back, it belongs not to the hearing, but only to Deaf people! It is Deaf Space, not hearing space anyway..

  21. Wendy Cunningham Says:

    Hello everyone!
    I have to agree with the views of Jean Boutcher. I have to give credit to Cynthia Nagy for talking about our early Deaf history. For example, she mentioned Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet who brought a deaf teacher from France to America. Research findings show that about 60% of our American sign language came from French sign language that Laurent introduced in America. This teacher’s name was Laurent Clerc. By the way, Jean Boutcher painted a very beautiful portrait of Laurent Clerc that is now hanging in Kendall Demonstration School secretary’s office. Jean is an accomplished artist!


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