DPAN DTV News Covers Convocation Controversy & more

Deaf TV News covers the convocation controversy, administration  and ongoing activism at NTID




the rad RADSCC

heye all

life is sweet

it truly is

RIT launched its RADSCC (i know i know it was a long time a coming and its a mighty long name. i woulda preferred sooner and shorter – something like the Veditz Center but often folks dont take me suggestion until many moons late – its ok i got patience) and im good at seeing what is good and RADSCC is good

so i say it is RAD to me so ill just call it that The RAD center

what does it stand for?  RADSCC =  RIT ASL & Deaf Studies Community Center

So the RADSCC is rad cuz….

and cuz PAH! (translation: “finally”) – over two scores and its here

– its a beautiful space – all glass walls so u can see in and out

– up on the 2nd floor clearly visible and not down in the dungeon like the poor ole RIT Women’s center and some of the other centers

– its got a balcony for lunch chats – yes we were all lusting after the idea of being able to SIT OUTSIDE for a chat (brrr rochester)

– its got the awesome banner using a detail of Deaf artist, Nancy Rourke’s artwork

– its got Jeanne Behm – she is the coordinator of the center and already glows with delight that it exists and makes u feel so welcome u dont mind braving the blustering breeze of the 1/4 mile to make ur way to the rad space and when u come in she greets u like “we have been saving a place for u”

so nice

– its got the support of the president of RIT, the president of NTID, the president of the student government and the NSC and ASLIE and DCCS and ….. u name it

aint life grand

me so happy

how did it come to be?  well i think largely it is a result of some Hearing students saying to the RIT Student Government a few years ago – we’d like some more ASL classes here – ya know since this is the “Grand Experiment” (NTID & RIT together, N T I D and R I T together, we shall overcome some day…..) it would be nice if more of us could talk with our Deaf classmates etc and bingo the administration makes it so

the RIT Hearing administration says – let there be light and more ASL classes and there are and they are FULL to the brim

and folks say – wouldnt it be nice if there was a literal middle ground instead of building 14 out on the outskirt of the RIT town and LBJ on the other outer edge looking like ghettos to some lets put a place in the middle – symbolic and functional at the same time – COOL.

and again it was a Hearing administrator – interim NTID president, Dr. Jim DeCaro who said …. make it so

and the RADSCC planning committee got busy – picking furniture, examining blue prints, organizing and implementing and presto …. the rad RADSCC is born

and folks r saying – Geez what took us so long to do this

no idea

no idea

but im glad its here

and im glad i was there to witness it

and in case u r wondering – yep i know some of u love to wonder about me – why is it that i emphasized Hearing this and Hearing that is cuz there is an irony and a blessing there folks

it is cuz sometimes Deaf folks feel so limited by “the systems” that we give up before we even start trying and every once and a while some good souls who have positions of privilege wander by and tap that peanut butter jar lid at exactly the right moment and the right place and presto it opens

and then the Deaf folks around them say WOW and let there be LIGHT and dang and cool

and of course there are some folks scoffing thinking its too little too late

oh please folks lighten up and stop raining on the parade

it is a good thing.  Hearing students have been learning ASL on this campus since we got here in 1968, we are just making it easier and better for ’em and in the process the Deaf students r gonna be rocking and celebrating and loving up themselves, their culture and language too

“spiritual audacity to assert our somebodyness” and all that folks

“jumping at da sun” and all dat folks

so start investing in hope

start investing in love

start investing in joy

and still when u see the bad stuff go down – just challenge it with love and stay in the light – its getting brighter and brighter aint it folks?

“Deaf & Hearing together, Deaf & Hearing together, Deaf & Hearing together some day……. I know deep in my heart….”



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,


NTID/RIT announces finalists for President Post

RIT/NTID announces finalists for President post:

Sent: Thursday, September 16, 2010 4:12 PM

To Members of the RIT Community

Subject:  NTID Presidential Search Finalists

On behalf of the Search Committee for President, NTID and Vice President/Dean for RIT, we are pleased to announce the three finalists and dates during which they will be on campus to meet with members of the RIT/NTID community.

Very brief snapshots of finalists’ backgrounds are provided.  We expect to post more extensive information about each on the RIT website by Friday, September 24.  All three are deaf/hard-of-hearing.  All have significant and varied experiences in their communities and with external organizations, and all have been externally recognized for their outstanding leadership and service. The finalists are:

Gerard Buckley, Ed.D. Dr. Buckley has over 30 years higher education experience with the most recent 20 serving in a variety of capacities at NTID.  From 1990- 1993 Dr. Buckley served as Chairperson and Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Outreach at NTID, followed by five years as Center Director, Center for Outreach, NTID and Assistant Professor, Social Work Support Team at RIT.  From 1998 to 2003 he served as Associate Dean for Student Services, NTID.  Since 2004, Dr. Buckley has held the position of Assistant Vice President for College Advancement, NTID.  An alumnus of NTID and RIT’s College of Liberal Arts with a B.S. degree in Social Work (high honors), Dr. Buckley holds an M.S.W. from University of Missouri and an Ed.D. in Special Education from the University of Kansas.  Campus visit Sept 29-30.

Roberta J. Cordano, J.D. Ms. Cordano’s career includes experience in government, higher education and health care. From 1990 to 2000 she served as Assistant Attorney General for Minnesota working first in  the Consumer Division and subsequently in the Charities Division.   From 2000-2008 at University of Minnesota she served first as Director of Disability Services, Office of Disability Services, followed  by  Assistant Dean, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.  Most recently she served as Vice President of Park Nicollet Health Services in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, and Interim President of the Center for Healthcare Innovation at Allina Hospitals and Clinics in Minneapolis.  Ms. Cordano  holds a B.A. degree (Cum Laude) from  Beloit College, Wisconsin, with a major in sociology  and a J.D. from University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison, WI.  Campus visit October 4-5.

John C. Wyvill, J.D.     Mr. Wyvill’s  career initially was in private law practice in Arkansas and  subsequently spanned  administrative positions in Workforce Education, Health and Human Services, and  several government positions, mostly in Arkansas.  From 2006 to present Mr. Wyvill is a Public Member of United States Access Board appointed by the President of the United States.  He also serves as an Adjunct Professor at Kaplan University in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Since 1996, after practicing as an attorney for four years, Mr. Wyvill served  three years as Assistant Legal Counsel, Office of Governor, Arkansas,.  Between 1999 and 2007 in Arkansas  Wyvill held positions first as Commissioner, Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, and  second as Director, Arkansas Department of Workforce Education.  From 2007-2009 he served as Director, Nebraska HHS Division of Developmental Disabilities in Lincoln, NE.   Mr. Wyvill holds a B.A. in political science (with distinction) from Hendrix College, Arkansas, and a J.D. from University of Arkansas Little Rock School of Law.  Campus visit October 7-8.

Visit schedules (including a videotaped open forum in Panera Theatre) are being finalized.  We look forward to this important phase of the search process with the finalists.


Jim Miller, Co-chair                     Chris Kurz, Co-chair