THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — Declining enrollments, continued low educational output, academic probation and a bloated budget (federally supported) was the result of a deaf campus clinging to a way of life whose heyday dates from the ’60s. While the rest of society embraced diversity and technology, the campus of Gallaudet did not. The acceptance of the Cochlear Implant technology and especially, advocates supporting them, were shunned.
Somewhere along the line though it became apparent that Gallaudet had to change or it would become just a memory. The college recruited T. Alan Hurwitz as its new President 20 months ago and set it motion a survival plan that is just now showing progress. Whether or not it ultimately matters is another question entirely.
In the 1960s, many deaf people needed Gallaudet to succeed. In this century however, deaf people can succeed anywhere — A college, funded with federal dollars, devoted exclusively for deaf students may be a bit dated in this day and age, culture issues or not.
From the Washington Post: Rising numbers of Gallaudet students are products of a hearing world. The share of undergraduates who come from mainstream public schools rather than residential schools for the deaf has grown from 33 percent to 44 percent in four years. The number of students with cochlear implants, which stimulate the auditory nerve to create a sense of sound, has doubled to 102 since 2005.
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The influx of “non-signers,” who can hear and speak or who read lips or text, may be necessary for Gallaudet’s survival. Yet it has sparked passionate debate on whether the university is becoming “hearing-ized” and whether deaf culture is slipping away.
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