Open Letter to President Davila

Several alumni and current students of Gallaudet including myself collaborated to write a letter and convince President Davila to see us on Friday, March 30 to discuss the previous and ongoing issue of poor quality of services and education for the Deaf-Blind. During the era of Jordan, Fernances and Kelly, the number of Deaf-Blind students enrolled did increase but sharply declined due to withdrawals. Many of us struggled with the poor quality of services under CAPSS and social acceptance. We hope that Davila is keeping his word on his “open door policy” and welcomes us to meet with him – provided that the President’s Office will cover the costs of Deaf-Blind interpreters.

And I will be in town that weekend so I am praying that President Davila honors our request so that I can finally tell him my side of the story – how the Jordan/Fernandes administration almost crushed my dreams of graduation and job opportunities.

Yo, President D, what say ya?

Tactile luv.

**********************************

President Bob Davila

College Hall


Gallaudet
University

800 Florida Avenue, NE

Washington, D.C.
20002

 

Gallaudet Coalition of the Deaf-Blind

tactiletheworld@gmail.com

 

                                                                                                March 7, 2007

Dear President Davila,

 

First, we would like to say: Welcome Home.

 

We are a group of current and former students of Gallaudet, all of who are Deaf-Blind. We vary by visual fields – some fully blind and some have Usher Syndrome. All of us have the same objective in mind when writing you this letter of invitation to meet with us on Friday, March 30, 2007.

 

And that is to keep you up to date and aware of the issues that we have endured as students, past and present. Let it be known that our educational journey at Gallaudet was rather difficult, not a smooth one. Many of us had and still seek betterment in the quality and quantity of services in order to ensure that we achieve our dream of graduating with a degree. In the past, our social and educational abilities have been tested by ignorance, oppression and limited funding.

 

Many universities, including
University of
Minnesota,
San Diego
State
University,
Western
Oregon
University and
University of
Alabama boast better programs for students with disabilities than

Gallaudet
University. Gallaudet is supposed to be the mecca of Deaf scholars, serving their needs be it visual, auditory or tactile. But that’s not the case. Many of us have suffered in terms of course failures, lack of job opportunities, quality of services and interpreting.

 

President Davila, be it known that during the years of
Jordan’s presidency, many of us spoke out on the plight of the Deaf-Blind scholars and received very little support.

 

There is so much more to be discussed – statistics, facts, evidence and stories from the Deaf-Blind associated with Gallaudet in the recent years – we long to be heard, too.

 

We sincerely hope that you open your doors to us on this day of March 30 and have Team Gallaudet on standby to readily listen. It’s a long time overdue. Please contact us so that the President’s Office can seek support from the Interpreters for the Deaf-Blind at GIS. Any questions, please don’t hesitate.

 

Sincerely,

 

Christine Roschaert

Alumni, Class of 2006 

John Winstead

Current StudentPresident, Gallaudet
Union for Low-Vision Students
 

Laura McNair

Alumni, Class of 2005 


Chad Metcalf

Alumni, Class of 2005 

And so many more.

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8 Responses to Open Letter to President Davila

  1. Katherine says:

    I am so happy to see this letter to Dr. Davila. I hope something is done to prove that it was never accomplished under the previous administration. The Deaf-Blind deserves to be included on every level in the Deaf community.

  2. Brian Riley says:

    Let us know how we can help.

    BR

  3. Tara Holcomb says:

    I truly hope that Davila will take this opportunity to listen to your concerns and make Gallaudet more accessible for deaf-blind students as well as students with other disabilites. While working at SBG, I was shocked to find out that deaf-blind students weren’t proivded with interpreters for “after school” events such as organization meetigns and such. It was disheartenigng to see gallaudet administratiors put the responsibility on low-budget student organizations rather than providing access for all of its students. I also was shocked at the lack of progress of improving road/sidewalk conditions– I know you know all this– because you told me! Best of luck in your meeting with Dr. Davila and I hope that more attention will be given to this matter.

  4. DeafLinux says:

    I want to applaud you for taking a stand. Dr. Davila should spend the time with students with low vision, DeafBlind, and etc. This is a very important issue that needs to be brought to the president’s attention. Many are not aware that it is the LAW that Gallaudet must provide accommodations to people with vision impairment.

    Tell Dr. Davila, if Gallaudet won’t accommodate the student’s needs and you will visit the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Education. Gallaudet has been ignoring a lot of things in the past which needs to be corrected. One complaint with an accommodation issue will bring Gallaudet to its knees.

  5. debby says:

    Dr. Davila,
    I will never forget how Gallaudet ignorantly treated a deaf-blind student of North Carolina and her dream is shattered.

  6. Julie B. says:

    I hope that Dr. Davila will be available to meet with you all on March 30. I also hope that he will respond to your letter. Please update with us about this.
    Good Luck with your meeting with Dr. Davila.

  7. DeafLinux says:

    I want to add and you can establish a “roundtable” discussion where students, faculty, staff and community members can watch because what goes behind closed doors tend to stay there.

    This roundtable can give students insights of issues that people with vision impaired are going through. Make it a lecture series and formal as possible.

    Invite faculty, ADA Coordinator, Gallaudet President, Provost, SBG, DeafBlind students, on the table with a moderator and asking questions to each person. This will create an academic environment that will be geared towards solving problems.

    You will do an excellent job presenting the facts.

  8. Andrea says:

    Oops — I wrote my comments at “Yo, we’re waiting” before I read the original letter here, so I overlooked that you had specifically asked for a march 30 meeting. Yes, if there is a specific date by which you need a response, I would think they should rush through a response even if it’s only to say, “sorry that date won’t work.”

    Though when dealing with extremely busy people like Davila (any president of any university or large organization or company will be EXTREMELY busy), for future reference, I would personally suggest proposing two or three alternate dates for possible meeting times. Chances are, Davila’s calendar probably fills up very fast weeks and months in advance. Offering two or three different possible dates when you could be available gives them more flexibility in finding a good match that will work for everyone, and reduces the time needed to go back and forth negotiating possible meeting times.

    Good luck in getting a response from Davila’s office.

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