Thursday, February 11, 2010

Deaf community frustrated with lack of support from former dean

Deaf community frustrated with lack of support from former dean

President Michael Burke stated in a media conference earlier this semester that one of the reasons he applied here was because of our "commitment to access." In the section of our mission statement titled Initiatives it reads:

"MATC is committed to providing the highest quality educational opportunities for all citizens of the district. MATC will maintain an institutional environment that champions diversity, promotes student well-being, and facilitates and encourages learning and multicultural understanding."

"However, one cultural group is not being recognized," said Luke Leonhardt, first-year student in the Interpreter Technician program.

He, along with Linda Tripi, Education Assistant/part time instructor, explained in letters meant for Dr. Susan Hornshaw, former Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences Division, that there is a need for deaf counselors to both advise and represent deaf students.

Although there have been several meetings scheduled with Hornshaw, for various reasons, she has failed to attend.

After the last meeting where she failed to show, the students and staff went to her office to investigate what happened. Surprisingly, they found her eating at her desk. She told them she'd meet with them later that day.

When they finally did meet, the students and staff left the meeting under the impression that steps were finally going to be taken to resolve their issues.

One major concern is obtaining a counselor, "who is familiar with the needs of deaf and hard of hearing persons to (give) information and support in selecting courses, finding their way around campus, how to talk to teachers to express their needs and resolve problems," said Tripi.

"These students often do not talk to anyone. They often feel uncomfortable and intimidated with the hearing," Tripi added.

However, shortly after this meeting, Hornshaw left the college for unknown reasons.

This has left the deaf community back where they started - only more frustrated.