American Sign Language Association at Eastern Kentucky University Protests
The ASLA (American Sign Language Association at Eastern Kentucky University protested on Thursday April 12, 2018. They were protesting because deaf studies at the university has been cut. People are outraged, they had initially been told that there would be a masters program established but it is no longer a "viable decision" by the Univeristy. The announcement came from the Board of Regents on April 6, 2018. Not only was the Deaf Studies program suspensions but also the American Sign Language Studies program was suspended as well.
An announcement had been shared back in August of 2016 which means the decision is not a surprise. EKU officials close a $25 million shortfall
The Board of Regents of Eastern Kentucky University has come upon this decision due to budget cuts. The university says many suspended programs will continue being taught as subjects or incorporated into other programs. They also say a transition plan with a teach-out option will be available for any current student wanting to complete their degree.
Michael Benson, the University President said, "Our current budget climate requires tough decisions, and I had to weigh the academic mission of our University with my own belief in what higher education should provide for the public good."
The president of ASLA, Rebecca Kreutzer asked that the Kentucky Grassroots organizations get involved and declared that this was a form of oppression against the community and their language. Deaf studies program at EKU is considered a multidisciplinary studies program that allows students to complete another discipline along with the courses required.
The American Sign Language Association (ASLA) is a chapter of the American Sign Language Honor Society.
ASLA states that their mission is "to assist all involved individuals and to promote their education and understand of American Sign Language. We achieve cultural and linguistic understanding through empowerment skills, access to Deaf community events, and meaningful volunteerism. The American Sign Language Association aids in developing positive self-esteem as well as a positive attitude towards the Deaf community and American Sign Language."