Two students have created a petition to have American Sign Language (ASL) count as a foreign language credit and has recieved over 1000 signatures, after the university declined their previous attempts.
ASL is a commonly taken course for both majors and non-majors. However, the course does not count toward anything outside of the speech pathology major. Students who take the course do so out of their desire to learn the language.
Micheal Bradford, senior theatre major from College Station, has tried in previous years to get ASL to count toward a cultural awareness credit. However, according to Bradford, the university rejected his previous requests without any explanation.
“I got a response from the advising department, not necessarily from the department head or vice provost, so I don’t know where it came from, but they said they didn’t like that and didn’t let it go forward,” Bradford said.
Bradford is one of the few deaf students on campus, though he uses hearing aids to assist him in conversation. He said his original intent for last year’s petition was to gain awareness of the issue and hopefully get the ball rolling so future students didn’t have this problem.
Brendan Conn, senior youth and family ministry major from Arlington, created the most recent petition and began spreading the word about it on his social media. Conn said he wasn’t originally aware of the full situation and only heard about it from a close friend. He saw the issue as completely unfair to all students and found it “unjust.” He then set up the online petition and shared it on Instagram for others to see; within the first day, 200 signatures were made on the site.
“The end goal is to get it as a foreign language credit,” Conn said. “The signatures are just going to keep coming. I think we’re up to at least 900 now.”
Conn said he scheduled a meeting with a member from SGA to propose a bill and communicate what needs to be done with someone that could make it happen.
The petition has reached over 1000 signatures and still continues with no limit being set. The petition has brought a lot of attention to ASL. Both Bradford and Conn said they are hoping to make some real change for future students.
“It’s really just a statement of making this count as a foreign language on campus, because nationwide it is recognized as a foreign language by the American government,” Bradford said.