SBG Calls For Open Meeting With AG Bell

It’s been barely twenty-four hours since The Buff and Blue shared a open letter to AG Bell penned by Sean Maiwald, and the campus is abuzz. A VLOG of the article is in the works at BisonTV, professors are talking about AG Bell’s history of eugenics in the classrooms, and students are sharing personal experiences in the hallways. Numerous other organizations and individuals have also sent open letters and left reviews on the AG Bell Facebook page.
In light of all of this, the students of Gallaudet University are prepared to take action. The Student Body Government (SBG) has just insisted that AG Bell come to campus and engage in discussion with deaf and hard of hearing student representatives. Read the SBG letter below:

[Image description:
There is a black line near top of the paper.
To the top left of the black line is the Student Body Government seal.
Next to that reads ‘Gallaudet University / Student Body Government / Harman-Sonnenstrahl Administration’.
At top right on black line read:
Ely Building #223 / VP: 202-250-2692 / Email:’.

Underneath the black line, the remaining text reads:

April 4, 2016

Alexander Graham Bell Association
3417 Volta Place Northwest
Washington, District of Columbia 20007

To President Meredith K. Sugar, Esq.:

This letter was written in partnership with The Buff and Blue, who wrote an article in response to your statement which can be found at

Recently, you published a response to the WashingtonScreen Shot 2016-04-05 at 12.06.39 AM Post article about deaf model Nyle DiMarco and his mission of promoting deaf children’s access to American Sign Language (ASL). In it, you say that ASL is a declining “communication option” and that it is your “hope to dispel the myths about deafness and spread the word that deaf children can hear and talk.” Your words demonstrate a profound lack of cultural and scientific understanding of the deaf community.

It is also our hope to dispel myths about deafness. What it means to be “deaf” has indeed changed, but not in the manner AG Bell claims. We welcome you to directly engage with those who were impacted by your letter right here at Gallaudet University, which has a rich and diverse student population of cochlear implant and hearing aid users, talkers, listeners, and American Sign Language users. We are a proud group of ASL-English bilinguals who know that ASL and English users (spoken and written) thrive and inspire, because we are living it.

We are formally requesting that you and other members of the AG Bell Association come to the Gallaudet University campus to engage in a dialogue with the Student Body Government along with a variety of student representatives. We believe that we can reach a level of understanding and collaboration in pursuit of equity, inclusion, and diversity. As an organization that claims to represent the deaf and hard of hearing, you have a social responsibility to be collaborative with us.

Due to the gravity of this situation, a meeting should take place at some point next week. We anticipate a response by Friday, April 8th at the latest.


The Student Body Government

at bottom of the letter is a long line with text below that reads ‘Gallaudet University – 800 Florida Ave Northeast – Washington, D.C. 20002.

End of image description]

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6 Responses to “SBG Calls For Open Meeting With AG Bell”

  1. Amy Cohen Efron
    April 5, 2016 at 1:43 AM #

    You are my heroes/heroines! This is an HISTORICAL FIRST!

    I reported on Deaf World As Eye See It blog.

    Please keep me abreast for any latest developments.

    It is my greatest hope that you, fine young bright leaders of tomorrow, to meet with the Board of Directors of Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and have this very honest dialogue.

    Our community today is hurting so much. We are deeply fragmented because how we perceive ourselves what it means to be Deaf, and our language preferences. We cannot continue to be this way for our future young Deaf and Hard of Hearing children and adults.

    We must stop the ideology that deeply divides us.

    I am so proud of you.

    Thank you,
    Amy Cohen Efron, ’88, G-’89, and ’92

  2. Patti
    April 5, 2016 at 3:12 AM #

    If no reply or an insufficient one by April 8 you all and our beloved communities can always go to their place and say howdy

    First amendment rights rule

    Thank u for taking this stand

    Peace Patti

  3. Charles Katz
    April 5, 2016 at 3:46 PM #

    Break new grounds for yourself, for your elders, and for future signing people. If they accept to come, the eyes of the “world” is upon ye all! If they refuse, then interesting developments will ensue. As a fellow alma-mater, I (I can say we, too) are behind you. Trail new paths!

  4. Jane
    April 5, 2016 at 7:19 PM #

    The students can have a parade and march themselves to their front lawn and have a silent, yea, sit in to protest.

  5. Sharon Van Dam
    April 7, 2016 at 12:39 AM #

    That is pretty awesome. I am so proud of Gallaudet University successfully.

  6. Linda Levitan
    April 19, 2016 at 9:29 PM #

    So from AGBell there has been a resounding . . . silence. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised.

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