From: Alan Hurwitz
Date: Fri, 16 May 2008 11:08:40 -0400
To: NTID - All
Cc: Bill Destler , Don Beil , Gerard Buckley , Christine Licata , Ellie Rosenfield , Al Smith , Alan Hurwitz (note email addresses have been removed to prevent spam)
Conversation: Decisions regarding AGBell name
Subject: Decisions regarding AGBell name
This email conveys my decisions regarding the issue of the use of the Alexander G. Bell name on one of our dormitory buildings and the plaque within that building honoring Bell.
As you will recall from my email of February 20, 2008 (attached), I established a working group to advise me on the decisions associated with the building name and plaque. That email summarized the issue as follows: “It is argued by many that a number of attitudes, opinions, and actions that Alexander G. Bell promoted during his lifetime are not supportive of the diversity of people who are deaf, and therefore do not represent NTID.”
Equally important, in that communication to the NTID community I asked that your personal comments be shared with me as we moved forward. My thanks to the scores who did respond to my invitation and did communicate with me. Not only did I benefit from your counsel, but I would like you to be aware that I took the liberty – after removing the identity of the senders – of sharing those comments with the advisory group so that they too would have the benefit of your counsel.
Additionally, since several staff members on the working group were unable to serve to the completion of the task, I took the opportunity to meet with members of NTID Staff Council Block 5 to solicit their feedback on this issue.
After a careful review of the final report of the working group (attached), and after consultation with all of the audiences above, as well as with counsel from the NTID Administrative Team, my decisions are as follows:
We will retain the Alexander G. Bell name on the building.
In making this decision, I find the working group was not able to reach a clear consensus regarding removing the name; therefore I have decided not to remove the name from the dormitory.
We will remove the plaque in the dormitory now, and in time replace it with another Bell plaque with different wording.
In making this decision, I find that my views are consistent with this statement from the report. “The group is of one mind that, minimally, the wording of the plaque must be changed.”
We will post a statement of the NTID values and philosophy regarding communications. Our community has always provided a welcome environment in which we strive to accommodate all students no matter what their communication approach or philosophy; we want those views reflected in this new posting. This might be through a plaque in a prominent location or with some other appropriate media. I invite your thoughts on this topic.
In reaching these decisions I seriously and carefully considered the final report of the working group as well as your many individual communications with me. Since I attended some of their meetings, I was able to weigh firsthand the deliberations so carefully undertaken by those on the working group serving all of us. I urge you all to read their report in its entirety, for it provides the context within which my decisions were made.
I thank the members of that group (their names are listed at the end of their report) for the seriousness in which they accepted this task, for their extensive deliberations, and for their thoughtful, deliberative, insightful final report. This was and is a serious issue and I ask that all understand that both the working group report and my decisions are reflective of that deliberative frame of mind.
February 20, 2008 Hurwitz email announcing the working group
May 8, 2008 final report of the working group
T. Alan Hurwitz, Ed.D.
Vice President and Dean, RIT
Rochester Institute of Technology
National Technical Institute for the Deaf
52 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, New York 14623-5604
(585) 475-6443 (TTY)
(585) 475-6317 (V)
(585) 475-5978 (Fax)