NTID’s New President

Heye all –

as probably most of u already know Dr. Gerard Buckley is to be the new president of NTID.

Dr. Gerard Buckley has been at NTID for over 20 years as well as being a graduate of NTID/RIT.

While i personally like Dr. Buckley i was hoping for Roberta (Bobbi) Cordano –

why did i want Cordano?  Well, it would be nice to have a Deaf Woman Lesbian president at NTID – a many firsts for us and cuz her presentation to the community rocked – in me opinion.  Why did it rock – cuz she thinks like i do, cuz she believes like i do, cuz she hopes like i do, cuz she approaches situations like i do – or least how she spoke was familiar to my own ethics, beliefs, values and aspirations for human kind.

It is unclear if Cordano was offered the post of president of NTID by RIT and opted for her newly announced post as Vice President of Programs at the huge and important Amherst H. Wilder Foundation in St. Paul, Minn. http://wilder.org/fileadmin/wilder/pdf/media/VP_Programs_Release.pdf

It is my hope that RIT did offer her the post in looking for new blood, new thinking, new direction, new energy, newness and shattering some ceilings since the sound barrier was broken when we had Davila in our highest position at NTID

Why would Cordano go with the St. Paul post instead of moving to LOVELY Sunny (sometimes) Rochester?  Well, cuz she kinda has strong roots in Minn. and her kids r in a good school there and……

So boo – our loss me think.

Now regarding Dr. Buckley – he has long wanted this post and it has been apparent to many for a long time.  It is unclear to me what he will do with the post.  Now i admit that some of the appeal of Cordano’s presentation to our community, her vitae, her track record, and her personal value set is very much in sync with my own.  She is a she as is me.  She is a strong and positive advocate for bilingualism-biculturalism.  She is not afraid of facing conflict with love.  She does not come off as aloof-  up above with the ivory tower academic folks or the politikians and the ole boys network etc.  Reports from me Deaf pals in Minn. is that Bobbi went out amongst the people and got her hands dirty, lifted tables, carried boxes, sat down and talked to everyone from all walks of life.  She also has put herself into good causes beyond education, language and human rights and also into the sticky realm of health care.  Most notable to me is her work in trying to get Deaf hospice set up.  I can not tell u how many end of life stories are less than pleasant because the people in the field of end of life care do not know sign language and fingerspelling (this has even been true of a Hearing neighbor of mine who was dying of complications of AIDS – when i went to visit him in the ICU he was fingerspelling something – he was always mixing up his letters but with some decoding, i guessed what he was trying to spell was the name LAURA and his partner burst out crying saying – “oh honey you want me to tell Laura to come visit” and he nodded his head yes.  (He was no longer able to speak) And his partner said to me – “im so glad u came – he has been fingerspelling to me all day but since he is on so much medicine he is messing up the letters and i dont understand well enough fingerspelling and….”   Then he made the call “Laura pls come” and me friend smiled

Now back to Dr. Buckley – we are different in many ways – he is an XY and i am an XX.  His persona strongly communicates that he is “running for office” and sometimes that can make folks feel like he is less than authentic, turn taking in conversations could be enhanced and he has not shown a great deal of advocacy or activism in bilingualism-biculturalism and human rights or equality of condition, however, i do not think he is a mean man or a bad man or an unkind man or a dangerous man or an ignorant man or an unjust man.

This could be the beginning of new beginnings for him and us if he can commit to recognizing any privileges he has (as Cordano did when addressing Deaf professionals and saying well, we have to recognize that I can and do at times use my speech and in doing so that allots me a certain measure of privilege so for others who do not we need to examine things to make sure things are fair and….. (this is not a direct quote but the gist of it me think).  Dr. Buckley should also gather close to him folks who will be honest and loving to him and tell him things that are his strengths and his weaknesses so he can assess what to do and not do.  What is fixable and what is just what it is.  And how to make him, NTID, the STUDENTS, our community etc shine.  Also, getting out amongst the people with ease and not as if campaigning would be a real plus.

Things i do know to be true about Dr. Buckley – he does care for NTID – it is something very near and dear to him.  He would not want to harm or tarnish it and i do not think there is much risk of him doing that.  We are at a VERY important juncture in our history where there is a high turn over rate of older timers at the Institute – possible Brain Drain? – lots of folks retiring.  With this brings an opportunity or a vacuum.   We are also at a time where folks r pushing a cultural battle ground that need NOT be there.  Where folks are painting things to be ORAL only extreme (which is still alive and well in many quarters despite the ICED 2010 New Era agreement saying “not cool, not cool oral only”) and ASL only extreme (there is no such thing – never has been never will be – there is NO Institution or environment that i know of that forbids English for Deaf folks yet there are plenty that forbid ASL).  So as folks continue their feverish fear of “the cochlear implants are coming the cochlear implants are coming” (and yes Dr. Buckley has one) it is imperative that we look at the facts:

1. most of the students coming to NTID/RIT that have CIs are signers

2. the # of purely oral/aural only students coming to NTID/RIT is still a very small number

3. the majority of our students self-report being sim-commers

4. the next largest group of our students are ASLers

We must continue to welcome ALL of our students if the GRAND EXPERIMENT that which is NTID/RIT is to meet its original goal of having Deaf and Hearing students beneficially co-exist on one campus.

The way we welcome is by respecting what the students, faculty and staff bring to the table and by promoting and fostering our multi-lingual and multi-cultural communities.

Our Deaf students who were raised with ASL-English have much to teach us.  Our students with CIs have much to teach us.  Our Deaf students who were raised oral/aural only have much to teach us.  Our Deaf students who were raised with some type of English signed system  (sim-com, cued speech, etc) have much to teach us.  Our Hearing students who were raised with ASL-English (CODAs or siblings) have much to teach us.  Our Hearing students who have never met another Deaf person in their life before coming to RIT have much to teach us.

We have much to learn and love about.

Cordano, I wish you all the best with ur new post and I’m glad u r out there doing the good things u r doing.

Dr. Buckley, I’m happy for you and wish you all the best.

NTID / RIT – my alma mater and the place i have spent 20 + years and the place i was married at and the place me kids might attend – u got some areas that could use some improvement (as do i) and u got some really beautiful things about ya – we just need to let them shine, shine, shine more.

Much peace,



11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. PopeMistress
    Nov 05, 2010 @ 21:34:27

    No wonder!

  2. ASLElla
    Nov 05, 2010 @ 21:39:36

    Was wondering who NTID chose. Guess I was not checking online as much as I used to. Thanks for posting this in Facebook. Good article as always. Yes we shall see what Buckley will be up to and if he has the audacity to acknowledge audism and privilege and creativity to experiment with healthy Deaf-centered solutions.

  3. deafa
    Nov 06, 2010 @ 02:23:20

    Congrats to him!

    deaf people with CI and HA deserve a chance.

    I would like to see a culturally ASL deaf have a chance to be president too without people judging their speaking and hearing ability.

  4. DeafSweetMind
    Nov 06, 2010 @ 02:23:33

    I can see that this is more neutral because I knew you are having an audist and dysfunctional attitudes all along. You are part of America Freedom Audism and I can see that there are many two faced people in this. I don’t agree with you completely since if we allow this old behavior to be carried on then it will never end with our ASL first before any hearing devices. Enough is enough! I have no sympathy for CI people since they need to cope and face the Deaf reality since they think they can hear the spoken language alone which they cannot do. If they think they can hear then they should go to hearing college without any interpreters! So what does it tell you as it’s very obvious that there is something wrong with this picture. Don’t get me wrong. I know it’s the parents who put the kids into the bad spot in the first place. It make a very mixed message in this society. I don’t appreciate this kind of attitude that you have since you usually believe that NEUTRAL is the answer. I THINK NOT!

    It cannot be neutral in that this is how it causes more conflicting issues come up. It’s not gonna solve anything until you stand up for the side of the Deaf community.

    It needs to be stopped, and the Deaf kids need to be encouraged to learn ASL. This way all student have equal access in the classrooms. Third parties are not allowed in NTID because of the huge conflict between SIM com Total communication, or SEE and ASL. I don’t care if they have their CI device because there is nothing we can do about it. It’s too late for them to get rid of it as usual unless they take it off and don’t wear it. Permanently! However it’s not our problem since NTID is for the DEAF! So what does it tells you? “Hard-of-hearing” means nothing since it’s more of Medical’s controlling about Deaf issues. Deaf students need to have their ASL.

    I don”t care about this man since there is some kind of favoritism from these people in NTID as usual. He is not our role model for the Deaf community because he has CI all along, and that is full of something sneaky and clever going on behind our backs. I am not impressed for the way they did it behind our backs. I couldn’t believe why they didn’t pick Ms. Cordano since she is a woman and lesbian. I guess NTID/RIT is not ready to have a woman/lesbian to run the whole college. How interesting!

    Another thing is I can understand that you are being more cautious since you are working for this private college so you could not say much more. That is dishonest by you since you are part of AFA. That is why I don’t want to be part of it as I did warn someone who didn’t believe me. So I just let it go and now the answer I’m offering is the right thing all along.

    The same old behavior pattern pattern is still carrying on and on so tell me when is it gonna stop? This old cycle system will never go away until it’s time to change for a very good reason. It’s not quite fair for these students who put up with all kind of artificial languages in the classroom. This is true for many teachers who uses SEE all along. Gerald Buckley is not the one. I don’t see him as advocate for Deaf community because the leader needs to be “D”eaf.

    Also, NTID donated the money to Clarke School for the Deaf. That is not the proper name since it’s an ORAL School. They don’t like to have the term of Deaf to be part of their name. So what does it tells you? So where is the money they get coming from? That is a good thing I’ll never donate to NTID because of being not too proud of what they did behind our Deaf backs all along. After all they do not have any respect for my rights to have an ASL interpreter in RIT.

    Anyway, I would have supported Ms Cordozo before Mr. Buckley. The reason is because the leader needs to understand and be part of Deaf community BEFORE anything else. This is not to say leave other people out but the leader needs to be part of Deaf first.

    Diversity means humanity that comes from many cultures of the Deaf community in Mother Nature world however it has nothing to do with Hearing devices that is why I resisted your thinking of having those promoting and fostering our multi-lingual and multi-cultural communities. So therefore, We the Deaf people who are asking for American Sign language plus English to be equal access for both sides of Deaf and Hearing communities of this society. So It has nothing to do with Hearing devices that should be out of your mind first thing.

    I am very tired of this because it seems to be that Oralism that is the answer for them. However, it’s not for us Deaf people of the Deaf community.

    Thank you! and Peace!
    Diane Lowery

  5. handeyes
    Nov 06, 2010 @ 03:41:03

    Thanks for all the comments

    Diane – u have thrown a lot of labels at me – almost all of them untrue. (actually i havent found any that were true but…. im a bit confused by your whole comment so…there could be some truths there that im not following.

    Maybe u misread me or I am misreading u. Regardless – i very much appreciate the Peace at the end. Not sure what u are thanking me for though.

    Much true peace to all


  6. Candace A. McCullough
    Nov 06, 2010 @ 12:57:24

    I appreciate being able to get an insider’s view of the new NTID presidential selection. It takes not only the president, but also the Deaf community, to push for a more Deaf-centered NTID. I wish NTID the best.

    Elena Ruiz’s recent article, “Who is Gallaudet?” offers food for thought. The new NTID president will do well to read this article and work to ensure NTID promotes an audism-free environment.

    As always, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Glad you posted this link on FB, otherwise I would not have found it. Given all the cyberbullying happening over at some aggregators, I must admit I prefer to get my news from friends or at FB these days.

  7. Karen Mayes
    Nov 06, 2010 @ 13:25:31

    Nice blog. To be honest, I was kinda hoping for “new” blood, from outside of NTID, not from inside.

    Hopefully Dr Buckley will carry on the tradition of keeping NTID’s environment very diverse with strong support for student’s comfort of communication, encouraging the enjoyment of being bilingual students. In a few years, my son with CI might attend there and hopefully NTID will be the best school by then 🙂

  8. handeyes
    Nov 07, 2010 @ 02:08:24

    Heye Candace –
    Thanks for your note. Re: FB $hit can fly there also ; ) but seems less likely to have a stock pile of crashes.

    RE: Ruiz’s article in Blue and Buff (or is it Buff and Blue – oy me brain reversals) – it got me thinking about Dr. Stokoe’s paper on diglossic communities / diglossia. It seems to me to have a lot of relevancy and can be very important to understanding privilege, prestige, and linguicism, etc.

    NTID has been working really hard to have a signing in open spaces policies. It still is not an automatic response of folks yet. Various efforts have been made over the years. Dr. Peter Hauser has a really cool presentation re: signing spaces etc. and value clarification and investment.

    cross-cultural encounters are often tricky but most folks agree its the “attitude” that makes all the difference.



  9. handeyes
    Nov 07, 2010 @ 02:13:26

    Heye Karen

    i like how u described things and yes that is me hope too.

    Re: ur son – if he chooses NTID/RIT and if im not retired yet, I hope he will look me up.

    Much peace


  10. Barb DiGi
    Nov 14, 2010 @ 05:44:55

    Thanks Patti for providing your outlook of this important post about Dr. Buckley and Ms Cordozo. I wasn’t involved in the process so I did not know as much about it so your views are valuable as it is much appreciated.

    I wanted to add a few thoughts that many may not realize what Dr. Buckley had done inside the works of NTID in the past few years. He actually made an effort to find a way to gather honorarium fee that I got to contribute to DBC when giving presentations to MSSE graduate classes to talk about bilingual topics and the historical facts of oppression/audism by AG Bell Organization who advocated the ban of sign language in Deaf Education and even today in AVT practices.

    I also got to talk about what was needed to be done such as expanding activism and advocacy for Deaf babies and families that they deserve to receive appropriate services from ASL Deaf mentors from the start. Dr. Buckley cracked a smile when I mentioned how it is the key to educate the parents to have their Deaf babies access to ASL which is a language human right. I could see in his heart that he supported the importance of accessibility to ASL in early years knowing how it is crucial to early language development leading to academic success. He has shown his willingness to learn from us so I believe he is the kind of person who is willing to listen.

    I guess I do keep my hopes up with this man, now a president of NTID, who has a lot of work ahead of him. Nevertheless, as long as he has the ability to keep his eyes and mind open to our guidance and support to achieve an audism-free, healthy environment at NTID that cherishes and preserves ASL, I believe he is capable to head to a righteous path.

  11. Patti
    Nov 14, 2010 @ 10:51:44

    Hi barb

    Thank u for this note. The personal and professional experiences u have had w dr Buckley does indicate a commitment and the all powerful HOPE


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