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Associated Students | San Diego State University


A Resolution in Opposition to the Indefinite Suspension of the ASL/Deaf Studies Undergraduate Track

WHEREAS, the Associated Students of San Diego State University (AS) is the representative body, and the official voice of the students at San Diego State University (SDSU); and has been entrusted to represent the best interests of our constituents, the enrolled students which make up our campus community; and

WHEREAS, it is the mission of the Associated Students to represent, serve, and protect the collective interests of the approximately 33,790 students at San Diego State University; and

WHEREAS, the SDSU School of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences has indefinitely suspended the American Sign Language/Deaf Studies undergraduate track (SLHS ASL/DS) concentration; and

WHEREAS, the suspension of the SLHS ASL/DS concentration is a result of the laying off and reducing the workload of lecturers within the school; whereby, the remaining tenure track and tenured faculty is not sufficient to continue the program; and

WHEREAS, in the fall of 2009, 16 total freshmen, sophomores and juniors were obligated to change their concentration or major; and

WHEREAS, the AS further recognizes that the laying off of the above mentioned lecturers is an unfortunate result of the draconian budget cuts that SDSU is experiencing as a result of the California budget crisis; and that the budget cuts are drastically affecting departments throughout campus; and

WHEREAS, the Student Disability Services Student Advisory Board, American Sign Language Club, Director of the School of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences and Dean’s office for the College of Health and Human Services have a positive working relationship, and understand the reasons for the suspension of the ASL/DS concentration; and

WHEREAS, there is currently a high need for certified ASL professional interpreters, teachers of the deaf and, trained ASL faculty in the United States; and

WHEREAS the ASL/DS concentration helps prepare students for careers in deaf education, teaching ASL, ASL interpreting, Deaf Studies, and for other related jobs in the public workforce that bring them into contact with deaf children and adults; and

WHEREAS, no other CSU ASL program has been suspended as a result of the budget cuts ; and

WHEREAS, the suspension of the ASL/DS Concentration prevents students from taking ASL classes, thereby limiting the number of hearing people who can communicate with deaf people which blocks access for deaf and hard of hearing people in society; and

WHEREAS, the suspension of the ASL/DS concentration prevents students with language-based learning disabilities from taking ASL classes as an alternative to a foreign language such as French or Spanish, thereby forcing them to pursue a foreign language substitution instead of learning another language, which is inconsistent with universal studies; and

WHEREAS, research performed on the national level surveying well known professional ASL teachers and authors of sign language books suggests that 100% of participants believe that ASL is a legitimate and natural language and that ASL courses should be offered under the Linguistics Department ; and

WHEREAS, ASL programs at other CSUs fall under a range of departments such as World Languages and Cultures, Linguistics or Communication; and

WHEREAS, while perhaps inevitable, the suspension of the SLHS ASL/DS concentration is contrary to every section (1.0-4.4) of SDSU’s Mission and Goals, and contrary to the AS Mission, Vision and Values; and

WHEREAS, the indefinite suspension of the ASL/DS concentration puts the program at an elevated risk for never being reinstated into the curriculum, even when more resources become available to the University; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Associated Students of San Diego State University acknowledges the budgetary implications due to budget reductions, however we oppose the indefinite suspension of the SLHS ASL/DS concentration; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Associated Students of San Diego State University call on the University to amend the SLHS ASL/DS suspension announcement from, “Effective summer 2009, the School of Speech Language and Hearing Sciences is suspending enrollment in the ASL/Deaf Studies undergraduate track for an indefinite period of time.” to read, “Effective summer 2009, the School of Speech Language and Hearing Sciences is suspending enrollment in the ASL/Deaf Studies undergraduate track until a period of time when sufficient funding is returned”; and be it further

RESOLVED, that if the ASL/DS concentration remains under the College of Health and Human Services, then the AS calls on the College of Health and Human Services to make the ASL/DS program a priority and return cut funds to the program when resources become available; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the University Senate Committee on Academic Policy and Planning and Committee on Academic Resources and Planning perform a feasibility study and comprise a report that addresses the possibility of moving ASL classes to the Department of Linguistics, or other appropriate department; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Deans’ offices for the College of Health and Human Services as well as the College of Arts and Letters each release a statement on the possibility of moving ASL courses to the Linguistics Department; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the AS calls upon the University to hire tenured ASL instructors or instructors on a tenure track; and be it further

RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution be distributed widely, including, but not limited to, the University Senate, ASL Club, Coordinator of the ASL/DS Concentration, Director of the School of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, Deans for the College of Health and Human Services and the College of Arts and Letters, Provost, University President, CSU Board of Trustees, Governor of California, California Association of the Deaf, San Diego Chapter of the California Association of the Deaf, California Education of the Deaf (Cal-ED), National Association of the Deaf, Deaf Community Services of San Diego, San Diego ASLTA Chapter, American Sign Language Teachers Association, Conference of Interpreter Trainers and Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf…

Passed by the Associated Students Council on March 24, 2010

Tyler Boden, A.S. President