The students are up in arms because they claim the university president’s position suggests that deaf individuals “need to be fixed” and are in some way deficient, inferior, or second-class to other students. The university president’s position, on the contrary, is that all individuals should have access to any avenue of coping with deafness; she claims that the university should endorse freedom of choice with regard to cochlear implants. She states that no one option or approach with regard to surviving as a deaf student should be mandated universally by the university. My own opinion on this issue is that the deaf students protesting at Gallaudet are wrong and that they are trying to impose one perspective: deafness is a personal identity similar to sexual orientation, for example. I believe the students’ position is restrictive, defensive, and inappropriate for a university to uphold.
The students’ position is restrictive of personal freedom in that it seeks to limit the choices that a deaf student and his/her family face with regard to the student’s coping strategies. The Gallaudet protestors claim that there is only one righteous way to manage deafness, namely by accepting one’s deafness and committing to living with the disability as a kind of personal destiny. While I am totally supportive of any pride that deaf individuals may feel about their strengths and virtues in managing the disability while living in a deaf community, attending a deaf university, and communicating in American Sign Language at high levels of proficiency, I find their attempt to force all deaf persons to follow a similar path highly dogmatic and obstructive. Vermeulen, Bon, Schreuder, Knoors, and Snik completed a study on reading comprehension with two groups of 16 children. Pre-lingual deaf children with cochlear implants were ...Show more