Archive for the ‘Letters’ Category

MSU Deaf Ed Student: PLEASE READ!

April 15, 2010 2 comments

This is the message Katie Hosmer, MSU Deaf Ed student, wants you to read and be there at the ASL rally tomorrow! Please see previous post for ASL rally information. Thanks! ~ MDC Committee


Everyone, the time has come to make drastic changes in our campaign to save deaf education and American Sign Language at Michigan State University.

As I’ve said before, MSU administrators seem to have made up their mind. They have already begun closing American Sign Language courses DESPITE the fact that we were told they would be open at least another year. Is it because of low enrollment? NO! ASL classes at MSU are overflowing with students!

Signs are posted all over campus saying, “Take a Less Commonly Taught Language at MSU!” with Tagalog, Thai, and Uzbek as just a few of the options. So if they claim that they cannot afford ASL because of low enrollment… I think we’ve got some issues here.

Oh, and did you know? Rumor has it, MSU officials are claiming that American Sign LANGUAGE is NOT a “real” language. As we all know, ASL IS INDEED a “real” language that is rich in cherology (phonology), morphology, semantics, syntax, and pragmatics. ASL is able to show past tense, negation, questions, and commands. It has the capacity to be acquired naturally and express and thought or idea. Therefore, AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE IS A REAL LANGUAGE!!

Not to mention, American Sign Language is the THIRD most commonly used LANGUAGE in the United States. THIRD.

So if it’s not about money…how many people use ASL… or whether or not it is a “real” language…then WHAT IS IT ABOUT?!

I’ll tell you what.


We’re done asking MSU, “WHY?” We know why. It’s time to show them what a HUGE MISTAKE they are making.

So where will you be on the morning of Friday, April 16, 2010? Please, join us in our FIGHT FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE!

ALSO!! – On Tuesday, April 20, from 8 – 9 am we will be meeting with Provost Kim Wilcox and Dean Carole Ames, the people ultimately responsible for the decision to close the program. WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!

Thank you everyone!!


MSU Officials: American Sign Language is NOT a “real” language

April 14, 2010 8 comments

It has been brought to our attention that the MSU officials are claiming that American Sign Language is not a real language! They have already begun closing ASL courses, when students were told they would be open for at least another year.

This calls for urgency actions from the Deaf Community and Deaf Organizations, as well as attending the ASL rally at MSU this Friday to show our concerns and objections to their ignorance and misinformation on our language and culture, as well as shutting down the Deaf Education Program/ASL classes.

Jeannette Johnson explains in details, both in ASL and English on her v/blog, “National Trend Of Eliminating ASL Classes?

Download the ASL Rally Flyer: ASL Rally Flyer. Please share with your friends and family. You may make your own posters and bring your friends to the rally!

ASL Rally on Facebook:

ASL Rally at MSU:
Date: Friday, April 16, 2010
Time: 8:30am
Where: Hannah Administration Building, MSU Campus
East Lansing, MI

Any questions or concerns regarding the rally, please feel free to contact Kassandra Darling,

Memo From EMU to MSU on Deaf Education Program Closure

January 22, 2010 7 comments

Dear Provost Wilcox:
We take the opportunity with this letter to reiterate concerns that you have already heard about the closing of the Deaf Education Program at MSU; however, we feel we would be remiss if we did not support our colleagues and clarify our programs at Eastern Michigan University.
There are two distinctly different philosophies to educating children who are deaf and hard of hearing and given this there are two distinctly different approaches to preparing teachers to teach these children. For over 80 years Eastern Michigan University has been preparing teachers to use an auditory-oral approach to teach children, ie utilizing residual hearing through hearing aids and cochlear implants and teaching students to use spoken language.
Parents of young deaf children who are diagnosed as deaf or hard of hearing choose the educational approach and deserve a highly qualified teacher in whichever approach they choose. Eastern Michigan University can not meet the needs of parents who choose the Deaf culture, American Sign Language option. Eastern Michigan University can not meet the need for teachers at the Michigan School for the Deaf or at other programs with a Deaf culture, American Sign Language approach.
Closing the Deaf Education program at MSU would jeopardize many K-12 Deaf and Hard of Hearing Programs in the State of Michigan, including the School for the Deaf. Without an appropriate training program in the state, Deaf programs that rely on teachers who are highly qualified in American Sign Language would have to look for teachers out of state. Young people who wish to go into teaching this approach would have to seek programs out of the state as well.
The two distinctly different programs, one at MSU and one at EMU have worked well for many years and have been able to adequately meet the need for teachers for the deaf and hard of hearing in the State of Michigan. Your decision to close the Deaf Education program at MSU would have far reaching implications for teachers, children and families in Michigan.

Faculty of the Department of Special Education
College of Education
Eastern Michigan University

Edited 1/23/2010: Corrected incorrect word usage: residual hearing instead of residential hearing.

Interpreter’s Letter Re: Michigan Rules and Regulations Draft Concerns

November 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Dear Michigan Interpreters and Interpreter Rules and Regulations Committee:

Upon reading the draft for the proposed rules and regulations for the Michigan Interpreter Law, I had several concerns. I have heard many interpreters responses after reading this Draft and many of them are frustrated to the point of talking about moving out of state or leaving the profession. These are good interpreters we cannot afford to lose. There is already a shortage in our state. While we are all in agreement about wanting standards for interpreters to improve, I believe we must take care in how much we are expecting realistically from Michigan interpreters to continue in this profession.

The new BEI test sounds like a good, sound test and a good replacement for the Michigan QA exam. However, I am concerned about the equivalencies being made with national certifications from RID and NAD.

Many of the interpreters who have worked very hard to achieve national certification from RID or NAD are feeling frustrated that their certifications on this Draft, are being placed in a lower class than interpreters passing the brand new BEI State testing. Interpreters have worked for years at becoming nationally certified, while using state testing as a stepping stone towards that goal. Being asked to take a State test after national certification seems like going backwards.

I have 23 years of interpreting experience and spent several years doing community interpreting full time which included extensive mental health and legal interpreting and yet, according to the proposed draft, I would be excluded from these two areas. My concern is that someone who might have a “class 3” credential may be excluded from “class 4” assignments and yet may have experience and specialized training in that area. Whereas, someone who has just passed the BEI at a level 3, will be allowed to interpret anything and that interpreter may have no experience or training in either mental health or legal interpreting.

RID has recently put in educational requirements to sit for the national testing, or they offer an alternative pathway in lieu of the degree requirements which is pretty extensive in taking experience, education and training into account. Where does education and experience fit into the proposed rules and regulations as far as the BEI candidates go?

I would like to suggest adding in NAD IV with greater than 5 years with that certification be made eligible for Class 4. I would like to suggest an NAD III with greater than 5 years with that certification be made eligible for Class 3. This would reflect the skill levels of many interpreters in the community holding these certifications.

I have a concern about the BEI test that, to my understanding, there is no portion of the test that tests a candidates’ knowledge of the RID/NAD Code of Professional Conduct or Ethics. As seen in the Interview portion of the NIC test, RID/NAD have made demonstrated knowledge of the CPC of paramount importance in becoming certified.

I have great concern over the K-12 Educational interpreting requirements. According to the Rules and Regulations draft, someone with the lowest level of a State test (BEI I) would be considered qualified to interpret for K-12. I think higher standards should be looked at–requiring EIPA, national certification, or the higher levels of BEI. We should endeavor to provide the best possible interpreters for the deaf and hard of hearing children of Michigan.

Many interpreters already feel overextended financially. We are also affected by the current economy in Michigan. We have to pay considerable amounts of money to take the NIC tests, EIPA tests if we work in an educational setting, pay our RID/NAD membership fees annually, pay to go to workshops to earn CEUs to maintain our credentials, pay for education/student loans, pay the State of Michigan registration fee, pay our local MIRID dues, and now the State of Michigan seems to be asking to add on the BEI testing as well. This seems like an undue burden on Michigan interpreters.

For example, currently, as an NAD IV certified interpreter I am required to pay $195 per year in RID/NAD dues and the Michigan Registration fee. I have just taken the NIC performance test ($325). I have very recently returned to work in an educational setting, and I am scheduled to take both the elementary ($60) and secondary EIPA tests ($310). It is costly to work as an interpreter. I feel like taking interpreting tests is consuming all my time and resources.

These are just some of my concerns as a long time Michigan interpreter. I hope other interpreters and Deaf and Hard of Hearing people will also offer feedback to the Rules and Regulations Committee on their proposed Draft.
I have endeavored to find the email addresses of all those on the Rules and Regulations Committee to send them this email but have been unsuccessful. If any of the members of the Committee would kindly pass my concerns along, I would appreciate it very much.
I would love to hear what others have to say, so please email me…..

~Christine Alexander