ASL Night at Antelope Gym Seen as Good Sign
English and Spanish are the two most common languages in the United States — that’s easy enough — but which language is third?
If you said American Sign Language, go to the head of the class. And if you didn’t, it might be worth going to Friday evening’s basketball games at GCU, when it will be American Sign Language Night in Antelope Gym.
The occasion is an opportunity for Beth Jamison, who oversees Student Disability Services at the University, to do some simple education. Jamison and her staff — Amber Wallenstein, Brandi Krause and Dawn Bolduc — hope it won’t be long before ASL joins Spanish as a language option at GCU.
In the meantime, events such as ASL Night will help enlighten students, staff and the public.
An array of special ASL touches will be noticeable at Friday’s games, including limited-edition T-shirts with G-C-U spelled out in ASL, an ASL video involving Thunder, cheers incorporating ASL and even a heavier bass sound at halftime, so that the hearing-impaired in attendance can feel the music.
Invitations for the games have gone out to the interpreting and deaf communities and also to students from the Phoenix Day School for the Deaf. The Antelope women play at 5 p.m., the men at 7:15.
“If we make the stands rumble, they’ll love it,” Jamison says, encouraging fans to bring the noise. “There’s a misperception that deaf people are quiet. They will cheer.
“It’s a community that doesn’t get a lot of help. When you offer outreach to them, they are so excited because they don’t expect it.”
An interpreted prayer written by campus pastor Tim Griffin is in the works for the Office of Spiritual Life’s website. In the spring, an ASL Club will launch on campus and will partner with the Phoenix deaf school.
Also, the honor society for all students with disabilities, Delta Alpha Pi, is on its way to GCU and will become the only campus chapter in Arizona.
According to Jamison, GCU has 420 students with disabilities on campus and online, growing by about three per weekday.
“Disabilities are just a different form of diversity,” she says.
Jamison says there is a mistaken impression that because GCU is a private institution, it is exempt from Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations. That’s not true.
“Because we are open enrollment, we are considered a public accommodation under Part III of the ADA laws,” she says. “That’s why we fall under Academic Compliance at the University.”
For more information on Student Disability Services at GCU, go to www.gcu.edu/disabilityoffice.
Contact Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or [email protected].