Letters to the editor

Marybeth Cieplinski

Commission on inclusion leaves some groups out

Dear editor,

I have just finished watching the video which is available on KSU’s Web site titled “Kent State Holds Informational Meeting About Coming Commission on Inclusion.” It was heart-warming to hear the sincerity and dedication with which everyone discussed the need to make Kent State a more inclusive university, to “set a new standard” and “create a place that uses best practices,” as President Lefton said. I wonder if you can imagine my surprise when, part way through the video, I realized that there is no captioning or sign language interpreter available for this video. I hope you’ll excuse my indignation, but I find it completely unconscionable that an informational meeting about inclusion didn’t bother to provide a way to include deaf people. Without either captioning or a visible interpreter, deaf viewers won’t be able to understand the message going out, which is supposed to be about the desire to make KSU more sensitive to all students. Or is it only important to be concerned with inclusion after the commission is formed?

I am a second-year American Sign Language student at KSU. During the past three semesters, I’ve come to value and respect the deaf teachers, students and mentors who have tried to instill in me an awareness of the deaf community and culture. After this semester, I won’t be going any farther in my ASL studies and, without constant exposure, will most likely lose a great deal of the knowledge I’ve gained. One thing I will not lose, though, is my affection and respect for the many people who tried to “include” me, as far as possible, in the deaf experience. It’s too bad that the very university which claims to desire a more inclusive experience for all students couldn’t be bothered to make sure their message reaches the very people it’s supposed to benefit.

Marybeth Cieplinski

English/sociology undergraduate student