I was at a loss for words on March 11 when I read in The Hatchet that GW has canceled all American Sign Language courses (“GW cancels sign language classes”).
As a speech and hearing science major who has completed all three levels of ASL, enjoying every second of it, I am shocked that the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences is not acting faster to insure that this program lives on.
While I understand that the Graduate School of Education and Human Development lacks the funds to maintain these classes, moving classes off-campus was the first mistake. Obviously, many undergraduate students are busy and the time commitment of a commute to Arlington cuts into their other classes and obligations. Yet it is more and more apparent that it is the undergraduate students who are interested in these classes, as Jay Shotel, chair of the teacher preparation and special education department in the GSEHD, stated that 90 percent of those students enrolled in the graduate classes are undergraduates.
To me, the next step is obvious. The speech and hearing department should opt to keep ASL alive at GW on the Foggy Bottom campus. The ASL instructors are more than capable, and the students are clearly willing. We have everything to gain here, but everything to lose if GW decides to stop teaching us about the deaf culture.