Readers’ Forum: 2/25/20


A better ASL program

Brigham Young University is a distinguished and highly elevated university, well known
for some of its academic programs. It offers classes on a wide range of topics and areas of study, including American Sign Language, also known as ASL. Although BYU offers up to the 400 level courses for ASL and has 10 professors who are deaf or affiliated with the deaf world, they do not offer an ASL major or minor. The highest academic achievement in the field of ASL you can receive at BYU is a language certificate, which is still in development. ASL is one of the only languages taught at the university that doesn’t at least offer a minor.

According to faculty members in the department, the main reason the ASL program doesn’t offer degrees is due to the fact that the professors do not hold Ph.Ds in ASL or deaf studies. Deaf professors don’t need a doctorate degree to teach ASL as effectively, or even more effectively, as professors who are not deaf. Deaf people interpret the world differently and visually, which is inherent in their language and culture. The importance and variation of facial expressions in ASL is evidence of that.

Deaf professors are better at making, interpreting and describing these crucial facial expressions. BYU isn’t utilizing its deaf professors to improve their ASL program because they don’t realize that a deaf professor is better at describing the uses and subtleties of different signs, whether they have a doctorate degree or not, because it’s their native language.

BYU prides itself on its educational programs, expert faculty who run extensive research projects and diverse campus. The deaf professors here on campus are a vital part of the diversity and excellence of BYU. The ASL program doesn’t properly reflect the amazing parts of BYU.

We need to utilize the wonders and benefits of having such great access to the deaf world. We should be using the insights of the deaf faculty to optimize our ASL program into one that better demonstrates the essence of the BYU Cougars, one with defined certificates and a pathway to a major or minor.

Jillian Elder
Lancaster, CA

Wake up, BYU admissions

I have two sons who are well balanced students at BYU. This year we were excited to have our daughter apply. She is an amazing person and student. Any other year she would have had a fair shot at being accepted to BYU, but the new essay heavy criteria is promoting payment for admissions just as USC and other scandalized institutions.

Students are hiring essay writers while honest, hardworking students are paying the price by writing them on their own. BYU is promoting the same tainted application process as these other institutions. Shame on BYU! Did you consider that unless you proctor essays, you wouldn’t get paid writers? Did you consider that completely reversing instead of modifying your criteria would cause horrific cheating? So, a seminary attending, BOEING summer internship, 100+ volunteer hours, 30 ACT, CIF swimming, AP Calculus and AP Biology, etc. student is dismissed for students that hire someone to write their essays.

That is shameful and a true scandal. But of course you can’t challenge BYU admissions. Wake up.

Pam Sanders
Class of 1989

Honor Code confusion

There is confusion at BYU. This confusion is causing anger, hatred and discord. Sides have formed, both firm in their belief of being right and justified. “Progmos” and “Deznats” have spent the weekend condemning each other, exchanging insults and slanders, both doing so in the name of Christ. There is no love in their hearts. Some of us are celebrating, some of us are weeping, most of us are simply bewildered at what is going on and don’t know what to make of it all. Questions abound with seemingly no answers in sight.

These things ought not to be.
Dear BYU, how could you do this to us, your students? Slipping in the biggest Honor Code change since who knows when, with no warning, no announcement, no explanation, no guidelines, no reasons, no answers, nothing but a vague tweet? And that only after the fact? What did you expect to happen? What were you thinking? And now, days later with the Honor Code office being flooded with calls, emails, visitations and questions, what has been the official response? Nothing. Silence. Why? What are you waiting for?
Please BYU, help us. Help us, your students, know what to make of all of this. Tell us what it means and show us how we are to act in light of these changes. Give us something. Shed light on our confusion and dispel the shadows that have settled on this campus.
We are waiting.

Jacob Tubbs
Malad, ID

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