ASL at BGSU

February 12, 2021

Dear President Rogers,

We are disabled faculty, disabled staff, and allies of the disabled community of Bowling Green State University.

We are writing to state that the decision to cancel the American Sign Language (ASL) program is indefensible. In his statement of February 10, 2021, Provost Whitehead acknowledges that “feedback from students, faculty and families has strengthened our resolve to find a solution.” There is a clear solution: We call on you to fully and immediately reinstate the program.

The program is a model of success. It is well-enrolled, well-taught, and steadily growing. It meets a crucial community need, and ​it is an exemplary source of strong disability​-positive messages. Thanks to these classes, students across campus have studied Deaf culture and gained the ability to sign with​ and relate to the 300,000 people in the United States who use ASL. Their knowledge of ASL has changed lives. We celebrate their commitment to diversity and their willingness to reach beyond the limits of the hearing world to make meaningful and joyful connections.

The cancellation of the program disproportionately impacts our community. All the instructors teaching in the program are D/deaf or hard of hearing. This point bears repeating: In a pandemic, when jobs are scarce, more disabled professionals are now searching for work because of these cuts.

D/deaf and disabled people are not second-class citizens. We had a first-class language program, and we want it back. Compromises and half measures are not acceptable. We call on you to fully and immediately reinstate the program.

With respect and with hope,

Sheri Wells-Jensen, Associate Professor, Linguistics Program
Stephen Demuth Associate Professor of Sociology
Andrew M. Schocket, Prof. of History and American Culture Studies.
Brittany Joseph, School of Counseling and Special Education
Wendy Manning
Alberto González
Timothy Murnen, School of Teaching & Learning
David J. Jackson, President, BGSU Faculty Association (AAUP)
Charlie Stelle
Jerry Schnepp
Megan Rancier
Amy Rybak, English Department
Sherri Horner
Kyle Parke Adjunct Instructor American Sign Language
Amy C Cook
Anonymous supporter
Lawrence Coates, Professor, Department of English
Jolie A. Sheffer, Director of the Institute for the Study of Culture and Society
Erin Felicia Labbie
Dawn Hubbell-Staeble
Anonymous supporter
Clayton F Rosati
Jillian Scott
Kei Nomaguchi, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Sociology
Sarah A. Rainey-Smithback
Julie Haught
Anonymous supporter
Lynn Pearson, Associate Professor of Spanish
Cynthia M. Ducar, Associate Professor of Spanish
Jason Wells-Jensen
Rachel Ann Walsh
Anonymous supporter
Cynthia Mahaffey, Teaching Professor, Department of English
Amy Robinson
Meredith Gilbertson
Bill Albertini
Brent Borden
Anonymous supporter
Lori Liggett, Teaching Professor
Kimberly Spallinger, Teaching Professor, English
Hallie Cunningham, Chief of Staff – Undergraduate Student Government
Andrea Cardinal
Deborah Schocket
Allen Rogel
Sean D. Williams, Assistant Teaching Professor Media and Communication
Laura Sanchez
Jadwiga A. Carlson
Anonymous. supporter
Karen Benjamin Guzzo
Anonymous supporter
Annie L. Graham
Rebecca L Skinner Green, Associate Professor Art History, Director Africana Studies
Nancy Patterson
Ewart C Skinner, Associate Professor, Media Production & Studies, School of Media & Communication
Thomas Javier Castillo
Katharine Meizel
Michael Drecker
Terry L. Rentner
Susan Cruea
Anonymous supporter
Michael E. Brooks, Associate Professor of Teaching
Anonymous supporter
Jenn Stucker
Jason Whitfield
Eileen Underwood
Mary Krueger
Madeline Duntley
Julie Didelot
Rebecca Mancuso
Robert Sloane
Anonymous supporter
Bradford Clark, Professor, Theatre and Film
Anonymous supporter
Anonymous supporter
Justin Rex, Assistant Professor of Political Science
Anonymous supporter
Nancy Down
Craig Zirbel
Lucy Long
Ron Werdebaugh
Daniel E. Williams, Associate Professor, Theatre and Film
Anonymous supporter
Marcelle Dupay, Teaching Professor, School of Art
Amanda McGuire Rzicznek
Michael Ellison
Eric Mandell
Anonymous supporter
Alexis Rubertino
Lucinda Hunter
Lesa Lockford
Scott C. Martin
Lara Lengel
Geoffrey C. Howes, Professor Emeritus, Department of World Languages and Cultures
Kelly Wiegant Mangan
Christopher Frey, Associate Professor, College of Education & Human Development
Danielle Kuhl, Sociology
Vikki Krane, Professor, HMSLS
Francisco Cabanillas
Christopher Frey, Associate Professor, College of Education & Human Development
Danielle Kuhl–Sociology
Vikki Krane, Professor, HMSLS
Francisco Cabanillas
Steve Boone BGSU Dept. of Theatre and Film
Katie Stygles
Kate Brodeur, School of Teaching and Learning
Penny Thompson Kruse
Salim Elwazani, (Arch), RA, AIA, Professor & Fulbright-Aalto University Distinguished Chair [2012-13]
Nancy Elizabeth Spencer
Valeria Grinberg Pla, Professor of Spanish
Philip S Peek
Mary Natvig
Andrew Kear, Associate Professor of Environmental Policy
Jack Santino
Ellen Berry, Emeritus Professor English/ACS
Cynthia Phelps Whipple
Elizabeth Burroughs, Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Jessica Zinz-Cheresnick, English
Christina Guenther, WRLD
Dryw Dworsky, Clinical Professor, Dept of Psychology, BGSU
Khani Begum
Sara Chambers
Abigail Cloud
Mike Schulz
Anonymous Supporter, School of Counseling and Special Education
Anonymous supporter, School of Counseling and special Education
Anonymous supporter, School of Counseling and special Education
Anonymous supporter, School of Counseling and special Education
Peter M. Blass Associate Teaching Professor of Chemistry
Rebecca J. Kinney
Todd Childers
Jennifer Karches
Fred Zackel
Colleen Fitzgerald, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Montana Miller
Beatrice Guenther
Scott Piroth
Pam Bechtel, Emerita Associate Professor
Angela Nelson, Associate Professor of Popular Culture’.
Bonnie Mitchell
Sue Ellen McComas, Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Firelands
Kim Coates, Director of American Culture Studies/Assoc Prof
Marilyn Shrude
Michael Decker
Cynthia M. Bailey, Applied Science Department, Firelands
Anonymous supporter
Anonymous supporter
Teresa Siwajek
Anonymous supporter
Kim Waterfield, School of Art
Kathleen Capozello
Morgan Knight
Lauren Maziarz
Annette Mahoney
Anonymous supporter
Anonymous supporter, College of Business
Elainie Lillios, Professor of Creative Arts Excellence, College of Musical Arts
Debra Gallagher

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