Since retiring in 2009 as Disability Services Coordinator, my wife and I returned to Fall River to be next to our families. Despite our busy lives, we still read The Gatepost every week during the academic year. My wife receives the paper in print and, thanks to an excellent and accessible online edition, I’m able to read it using my screen reader. So, it was with great joy and happiness towards an institution I worked at for 26 years, that I read that a baccalaureate degree program in ASL Interpreting and Deaf Studies is being offered. I can think of no more appropriate place than here. In the 1980s, a number of disability organizations in this area, the Former Greater Framingham Association of Disabled Citizens (later The MetroWest Center for Independent Living) and the Massachusetts Disability Policy Consortium, wrote letters to the College and to the Board of Higher Education and to legislators, calling for a baccalaureate degree program at Framingham State University (at the time, Framingham State College) because there are no such programs at any of our public institutions in Massachusetts. One has to go to a private institution for a four-year degree or Northern Essex Community College for an associate’s degree. We all felt that FSU made sense because of the Framingham Learning Center for Deaf Children and, at the time, a strong Deaf Community Center.
Congratulations to FSU for this very important step. There remains a shortage of ASL interpreters in Massachusetts, which affects persons who are Deaf from getting an education and even getting their medical needs met and this University should be proud and you are making a strong contribution to bettering the lives of the Deaf community in Massachusetts.
Former Disability Services Coordinator