Gallaudet, No. NAD, Maybe. Public Policy Institute, YES!


What blew me away was that I spent over 2 hours watching 13 videos of Gallaudet University’s President, Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz, giving a presentation before the Bay Area’s Gallaudet University Alumni Association Chapter on December 2010. That was 8 months ago, but this website with 13 videos was published YESTERDAY (August 18, 2011)! All videos were uploaded on YouTube, with the username of TheJamesSowell yesterday. Does that mean TheJamesSowell created this website, I wasn’t too sure if Dr. Hurwitz, himself had authorized this website? I strongly doubt it. Obviously, Dr. Hurwitz probably gave his rights to have his presentation videotaped and knowingly that his presentation will be publicized? I strongly doubt it. Citizen Journalism, yep!

I learned several important things from these videos and it made me ponder very hard… especially video number 10, which a question about Eugenics been asked to Dr. Hurwitz.

His response was basically by explaining Gallaudet’s role as an educational institution and their responsibility is to educate and prepare students for the working world. He was able to expand Gallaudet’s mission statement and strategic plans. To summarize this, Gallaudet is an entity to educate, but not leading the nation with political action, lobbying or influence to change and/or develop public policy. Gallaudet is a strong University with no bite. There is no department of law or public policy as of now.

Gallaudet was undergoing the major organizational change, with hopes that staff/faculty will be released with their duties to focus more on research. VL2 is one of the examples, including the brand new website that was released recently, which is THE blockbuster site of research. Research is there, available and ripe for taking. But, no public policy.

Bourne-Firl asked Hurwitz on video 12 about Gallaudet to establish Public Policy Institute or a field of study similar to public policy or law. Go and see what Hurwitz has to say…

It is in process. The need is there. Is it too late? Perhaps. You may want to watch video number 15 about Gallaudet’s Education Department. Dr. Hurwitz was not too happy with current Educational Department. Yikes!

A weak Educational Department means weak rigor of training for future educators, resulting a weak infrastructure in Deaf Education. Gallaudet must hurry up to fix this department IMMEDIATELY! Or perhaps, take a very hard look into this question, what is Deaf Education? Should it be about Dual Language Instruction, Visual Learning, Linguistics, and other disciplines which focuses on the strength of sign languages and visual learning among the Deaf and maybe, hearing children? Or should we maintain the status quo of Deaf Education training since several states does not recognize teachers certified with Deaf Education? Almost every state have their own definition of Highly Qualified Teacher, with a specific training and certification. A professional with Deaf Education certification is considered as a consultant in some states, including Georgia.

Should we use Gallaudet as THE leader for all of the Deaf people around the world, and present their position statements about our human rights, language, employment, discrimination, and influence public policy?

The answer is… NO. Gallaudet can train students about public policy. They cannot do public policy. Simply said.

Alright, looking at other places available. National Association of the Deaf. A non-profit organization under the IRS Code of 501c(3) with a strong mission statement, dependent on membership fees, grants and gifts. They have lawyers and volunteers who can do some ‘think-tanking’ and develop public policy strategies. Lately, NAD did a LOT of work in advocacy, by meeting several key governmental departments (DOJ, DOE, FCC, etc), and there is a restriction for a 501c3 organization for participation in any political campaigns, for example pushing a political party to support NAD. The organization can push for bills to be introduced, like NAD did with 21st Century Telecommunications Act, which requires that captioned programs on TV also be captioned on the Internet.

NAD has a lot of issues to address, and they are making themselves visible among the key players at Nation’s Capital.

Then what is left? Deafhood Foundation, Deaf Bilingual Coalition and Audism Free America. They are newly formed organizations in less than three years. They are building their reputation as activist organization with their own mission and goals. Are they responsible for public policy? Please let me know.

What is missing? A public policy institute? Think Tank? A venture capital? Politicans? Deaf owned Mega-Corporation?

Yikes… then what can we as alumnus of Gallaudet University should do? Waiting for Gallaudet to lead us, or should we take social responsibility to lead ourselves?

What is missing? What should we do?

Amy Cohen Efron

Did you like this? Share it!

6 comments on “Gallaudet, No. NAD, Maybe. Public Policy Institute, YES!

amy’s in the house

geez i love when u blog smile. even at times when i dont agree with ya (and no worries i dont always agree with me own self at times). its just cuz u care and u dare and i truly appreciate that

it is so so so important and needed for the discourse and when u r talking opinions and pov u make that clear. u aint professing something as a fact when its a falsehood and that is beyond refreshing in blog-o-land

now to the point of this entry – another reason why me think this is a gem is because u collect good stuff and put it in a place and way that is easy for us “on the go” folks to access and see see etc

u did similarly with the NY times 5 op-ed pieces and u add ur perspective and review and critical eye which takes courage and strength and a willingness to get off the place of sitting on the fence that some folks cant seem to wager off of

furthermore – u do it quick! so that shows me u also are investing in our community – that when this stuff comes under ur radar that is important u not just recirculate it but u INVEST in understanding it and EXAMINING it

thank u and kudos

now to the very points of ur blog re: a public policy institute or think tank

YES we need one.

lets make it so

and in the meantime folks should check out the Deaf community action FB page that Sheri F set up – it is kinda an online version of a think tanky in the aspiration of having some public policy impact

of course a face to face thingy is very much needed and something that is ongoing and dedicated to direct confrontation / civil disobedience and ACTion cuz time is a ticking

we so need a dont we?

just a note re: 501C3 – have u seen re: the lobbying AG Bell Association and the DHHA has paid for?

its kinda interesting

also just fyi – i have seen 501C3s endorse certain candidates upon a review of those candidates positions on specific issues that affect their group. the dont campaign FOR the candidate but think they are still allowed to do a thumbs up or down as women’s groups, GLBT, African-American, Latino groups do with various candidates




Count me in.

sorry to add but i got more to thinking about Gallaudet’s role in shaping public policy and i understand ur point about “should not be THE….” meaning i assume – the as in the only force etc and i also got to wondering about some of the things Gallaudet does do and doesnt do so im copying a comment i made over in a FB thread –
i do agree that Gallaudet has a role in shaping public policy beyond just establishing a program in that area (which would be huge) but also in the hosting summits and think tanks. Furthermore it should examine what not to do too – like it should not sponsoring conferences that promote the exclusion of ASL or have a history of doing so. (divestment) I would also be curious to know if the Clerc Center re: CI education includes educating parents and the community about the lawsuits, recalls, malfunctions, unethical dealings, profit margin, issues of bodily integrity now that CI are remote controlled by parents and/or professionals, and the move for a 100% implantable ci. The genetic data collection at Gallaudet is also something that needs to be better understood, its purpose, its usage, etc. i do hope the GUAA will take a more active role in informing Gallaudet of its hopes and expectations and also pushes for a statue of George W. Veditz by a Deaf artist – it is long overdue – i think.
adding now – i havent had a chance to watch the video in full yet but i know that Pres Hurwitz is quoted as having said “you need to watch me” and without having SEEN the full context of that statement yet (and i do hope to watch the full video soon) i have thought that what he meant by that was similar to FD Roosevelt’s statement to some progressives “I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it.” Which indicates how politicians and administrators really need the push of the people to get certain things done.

ill have to watch the whole thing but it is clear from all u wrote, from the stuff being shared in the Deaf Community Action FB, from the legacy and renewed vigor of the NAD as well as the new forward moving and ACTivist groups like the Deaf Bilingual Coalition and Audism Free America and the efforts of the Deafhood Foundation to educate and fundraise to award grants so we can have FUBU – that we are on the move and Gallaudet, NTID, CSUN, and other colleges and organizations should want to be a positive part of that.

We all know that we all are created equal. We also know that equality is not always given or practiced by the forces in power so we must engage in social justice and activism and “make them [the folks in power] do it”

thanks for all the food for thought



Once Gallaudet operates Deaf Centered, it would make great strides in all areas it will have to offer. Otherwise it will just be nothing but a University. Imagine Gallaudet is Decolonized and deprogrammed, thats when you shall fasten your seat belts!

Hey, we would very much love to have you to be here in the New England area… I have a lot of issues to discuss that I am concerned at all times about public school issue across the New England area. Also, I am working at the New Hampshire Department of Education for 17 years… Whew… What can I say? Hmm… Come to NH… I know President Hurwitz was here in NH while he worked for NTID at that time. He and I had a lot of good talk about different issues. My question is — why do we need Gallaudet University Regional Centers at first place? Something that we should work with them to operate Deaf Centered… Hmm I have much appreciated that you shared with us your comments. Thank you!!!

Leave Comment

sixteen − fourteen =