To whom it may concern,

My name is Brittany Coppock and I am a junior at Northwest. My major is Psychology with minors in Criminal Justice and Deaf Studies. As you know, Northwest is dissolving the Deaf Studies program, and I am writing to explain how much of an impact this would have on students and the community as a whole.

I am approximately half way through the minor at the moment. I am enrolled in Sign 2, and will only have two classes left to complete. I have never had such a meaningful, eye-opening, educational and inspirational experience as the Deaf Studies program. This minor changed my life and will continue to do so for many years to come. Every person I have met has found this program to be one of the most important experiences because it teaches you something that can be used on a daily basis: communication. Meeting a deaf person, at least every now and then, is a guarantee.

Northwest’s mission statement says that Northwest “focuses on student success - every student, every day.” The vision statement says that Northwest will be “THE university of choice for a comprehensive, exceptional student experience.” Intercultural competence is also listed as a value of Northwest. With this in mind, my question is, how is Northwest focusing on every student, being the university for a comprehensive and exceptional campus and being interculturally competent, if it is so willing to drop the Deaf Studies program? How can we claim to care about every student if we are not providing our students with the tools and knowledge to communicate with others? How will our deaf students respond when there will no longer be people on campus who can communicate with them? My question to those who made the decision to drop one of the most popular minors on campus is, do you know how difficult it is to read lips?

The Deaf Studies program on campus is, without a doubt, one of the most popular and most necessary minors offered. Every semester, the Intro to ASL and Deaf Culture course has a waiting list and is always overflowing with students. At the Organization Fair held at the beginning of the semester, we had approximately 60 people sign up to receive more information about the American Sign Language Club. That is 60 people who want to learn about deaf culture and American Sign Language. I work with a person who is deaf and the first time I signed to him was a priceless moment because it was so great to see how excited he was that someone was able to sign with him and he did not have to rely on lip reading to understand me.

This minor is so beneficial because it can teach students about a whole culture that is all around us. It is a minor I, along with all other students, am very passionate about because it helps us to break down language barriers. It is a minor that destroys audism, and helps so many individuals. Dissolving the Deaf Studies minor will be the biggest mistake that Northwest Missouri State University will ever make, and it will be a decision that hurts the school in the long run. Northwest cannot be considered a diverse campus if we are not willing to represent and accommodate every culture that walks on our campus.

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