Wednesday, July 28, 2010

NTID Correspondence RE: ICED 2010 New Era

Orange & Brown Coalition has been granted permission to reproduce the "reply all" correspondence and original email from Dr. DeCaro, Interim President of NTID, re: ICED 2010 New Era document and the rejecting of the ICED 1880 Milan Congress Resolutions.

As new emails and permission come in they will be added.

From: Mistie Cramer
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2010 09:43:22 -0400

Congratulations!!!! It is definitively hitting a milestone in Deaf History ever! Thank you for keeping us in the loop!

Best regards,

Mistie A. Cramer
SAISD Prevention Educator and DPG Member at Large

Patricia Durr
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2010 18:02:04 -0400

Greetings all

Sorry to use reply all but this monumental, long overdue public apology and declaration is a big deal and a kind of once-in-a-lifetime thing that many of us were not sure we’d live to see.

I am moved and inspired by all of the reply all responses thus far. I thank each of you for sharing with all of us all - your thoughts, experiences, outlooks and links to resources as well as the actual ICED New Era document rejecting “all resolutions passed at the ICED Milan Congress in 1880 that denied the inclusion of sign languages in educational programs for Deaf students.”

Might I suggest for the 2020 plans that NTID consider having some Deaf representation as a big part of the New Era agreement is its recognition of the harmful effect the lack of including Deaf folks from being involved with planning and decision making has had on our history. Including Deaf bilingual-bicultural representation from NTID on the ICED Ad Hoc Committee on Site Selection would put NTID in accordance with the New Era’s Accord of the Future statement that “call upon all Nations to facilitate, enhance and embrace their Deaf citizens’ participation in all governmental decision-making process affecting all aspects of their lives.”

In ensuring that NTID heed the New Era document’s call for us to remember history – I am hopeful that NTID at RIT will host something on September 6-11, 2010 to commemorate the end of the ICED 1880 Milan resolutions after 130 long years. Given the fact that many of our students are new to Deaf history and Deaf culture – they can not remember that which they do not know about.

In the spirit of Thomas Jefferson – the New Era agreement states: “For Deaf people, it is an inalienable right to be acknowledged as a linguistic and cultural minority integral to every society.” Lets get busy - “Think Globally, Act Locally”



(Note: bold items are quotes from the New Era agreement)

From: Kevin Williams
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2010 14:42:11 -0400

Thank you for this significant news and for the incredible amount of effort that was exerted to get this accomplished.

The one challenge that I would like us to consider, as we address things here 'at home' (RID/NTID) is recognizing the linguistic fact that most of our D/deaf students (and the majority of our Faculty) are bilingual. There is a lack of formal recognition at RIT/NTID for ASL (which is the basis for ALL manners, actually, of signing found here in the US). The issue that makes NTID unique (nationally and internationally) is the fact that bilingual education is carried on each and every day. It's not that people can 'sign' ... it's that they can communicate in the natural visual language we call ASL as well as communicate in some form of English (spoken, written, both). It is the fact that faculty are (or should be) carrying on direct instruction in their respective areas of academic excellence. This type of communication very different than 'social signing.'

While it is true that D/deaf students 'have a choice' pertaining to how they communicate, if they are using signing and some form of English, they're bilingual. It is this bilingual 'edge' that sets NTID apart from other colleges of education involving D/deaf individuals. It's time that acknowledge this issue in a manner which gives equal regard to both ASL and English.

Again, thank you (!) to all who were engaged in this incredible international effort.

With respectful regard,

Kevin Williams
Lecturer, ASLIE
Co-Author, Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA)

From: Stephanie Polowe
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2010 12:36:09 -0400

Three cheers!

Stephanie Polowe

Bonnie Meath-Lang
Date: Sun, 25 Jul 2010 22:52:57 -0400

Dr. DeCaro, Dr. Mowl, and colleagues--

Great thanks for your perseverance and--more importantly--your educational vision, in advocating the Vancouver Declaration.

As a hearing colleague and member of the broader Deaf community, by its generosity of spirit, for the last 38 years, I congratulate you on acknowledging a tragedy that resulted in the literal loss to the world of Deaf teachers, artists, and scientists, whose very livelihood and positions were the pawns. The Milan Conference was a purge, enabled by politics.

Words matter.

Thank you for challenging them, full force, and making way for authentic conversation.

An aside—a connection, from a teacher’s perspective: This week, as this resolution was being painstakingly crafted in Canada, a smear campaign against a self-reflective African-American woman was being enabled across the 24/7 news cycle across the US. This must be enormously painful for so many of our students to watch...Happily, she has been vindicated. But that vindication was not without the critical thinking, analysis, investigation and research those of us in the arts and general education teach here routinely. There is much work to be done in creating a just and compassionate world.

It is my hope, as we inevitably melt down from time to time through the semester conversion process, that we do not lose sight of the value of analysis and reflection, do not neutralize our commitment to diversity and the arts, and build these commitments into the process.

I am utterly convinced that our terrific Deaf , hard of hearing, and hearing students—taught to be self-reflective in so much of our curriculum—will help us to change the terms of the conversation...and will see you as role models in the fight against injustice.

Words matter.

My best to you in all this--


Pamela Conley
Date: Sun, 25 Jul 2010 14:57:47 -0400


What a deeply cathartic moment for the past and present voices who have cried out against the ugly treatment of deaf people! (Please note the irony of “voices” and “cried”) As a victim of oralism, I feel safe for the first time in my life to declare publicly that I do not use my voice. My motive for not using my voice has often been misunderstood.

Dr. DeCaro, NTID Colleagues, NAG, ICED and BCDC, I thank you all for formally denouncing the devious tradition of exclusive oralism in our world that has carried on to this day since the late 1800’s. Your historically significant actions, decisions and documents will make it possible for our anxious Deaf communities around the globe to begin their long-term recovery from the immorality of the fundamental philosophy of elite oralism embedded in many educational programs.
Again, thank you for all your efforts that led to an extraordinary declaration issued in Vancouver.


Pamela Conley

Karen Christie
Date: Sun, 25 Jul 2010 12:45:21 -0400

Dear Dr. DeCaro and Colleagues,
Thank you for sharing with our community news from the ICED 2010 Conference and your thoughts. It certainly is a “momentous occasion” for the ICED to reject their 1880 resolutions and acknowledge the detrimental effects of the removal of the use of sign languages from educational programs. I’ve taken the liberty of attaching the entire ICED document for those interested [see Statement of Principle and Accord for the Future] In addition, below are the press release links from Audism Free America and the National Association of the Deaf.

Thank you for participating in this historical event on behalf of NTID!

NAD’s website commentary:

AFA’s Press Release:

AFA's Video of Press Release:

From: James J DeCaro
Date: Sun, 25 Jul 2010 11:55:26 -0400
Cc: Bill Destler, Jeremy Haefner, Karen A Barrows
Conversation: ICED 2010: Vancouver
Subject: ICED 2010: Vancouver


The ICED 2010 in Vancouver was quite a momentous occasion in the continuing evolution of our field.

A declaration was issued in Vancouver that relates in large part to the Congress of Milan of 1880 and the resolutions adopted at the 1880 Congress. Among other statements, the Vancouver Declaration calls upon the nations of the world to respect and accept all languages and forms of communication. NTID played a small part in these events as a result of the letter sent to the organizing committee on 22 March 2010 signed by myself and our National Advisory Group Chair, Dr. Harold Mowl, and unanimously endorsed by our NAG (attachment).

The Vancouver Declaration (attached) is consistent with the approach detailed in NTID’s Strategic Decisions 2020 regarding educating students who are deaf or hard of hearing at RIT.

NTID’s approach is grounded in what Thomas Jefferson referred to as the inalienable right to “liberty.” This, providing for individual freedom and requiring individual responsibility to contribute collectively in assuring the freedoms of other are preserved. In the educational enterprise, this translates into our need to conduct the business of expanding options: to meet the needs of students; not limit them; and support them in expanding/determining their own options.

The tragedy of Milan 1880?

The attempt to limit liberty by seeking to dictate a particular methodology in the education of people who are deaf to the exclusion of others. We at NTID must never find ourselves falling into the same trap…vigilance will always be in order. We can assure vigilance through open dialogue, scholarly debate and the continuous assessment of what we do in our educational enterprise as we strive to fulfill our founding mission.

Parenthetically, Marc Marschark and I have volunteered to work within the ICED Ad Hoc Committee on Site Selection to build the tenants contained in our 22 March letter into the criteria for site selection for ICED 2020 (ICED 2015 will be held in Greece).


James J. DeCaro, PhD
Professor and Dean Emeritus
Interim President
National Technical Institute for the Deaf
Rochester Institute of Technology

About Orange Brown Coalition

Mission: To share with the RIT community about Deaf Culture (language, history, humor, etc.) and related activities.

To facilitate relationships between Deaf and hearing members of the RIT community through awareness of our cultures.

To provide opportunities for self-empowerment and self-advocacy of Deaf people on campus.

[Click Here To View ASL Version]