Monday, May 10, 2010

Deaf Studies at Bristol Uni under threat

Crossposted from here:

The University of Bristol is currently considering plans to close the CDS’ long-running BSc degree in Deaf Studies and other parts of CDS’ work.
This is said to be for financial and academic reasons, that it is expensive and does not fit faculty priorities.
What would this mean?
Around 75 % of CDS staff will lose their jobs, including most Deaf staff.  It will reduce CDS to a ‘rump’. We believe the consequences of these proposals will have a disastrous impact on Deaf and hearing people in many ways. These include :
  • exacerbating the existing crisis in the UK Deaf community caused by the acute shortage of interpreters,
  • negative effects on the present students,
  • severe reduction of CDS’s ability to continue its 30 year tradition of initiating and supporting progressive academic and other Deaf-related developments, including lobbying for Deaf rights and achieving equality with hearing people,
  • retardation of the global development of quality Deaf Studies work,
  • negative impact on Deaf people’s access to a wide range of vital information.
Under UK law, the University is required to carry out an assessment of the effect of its planned actions on Deaf/disabled people, and on the community in general.  It is clear that you, the wider community have not been consulted in this way.
Your help is needed
So we ask if you can help this campaign.  Please as soon as possible send a letter to the University decision makers.  To express your own views about the value of CDS’s work. You would need to do this in the next few days, a decision is being made this week.
Please feel free to use headed paper from your own organisations if appropriate. Please also circulate this email widely and ask others to do so.
If you need detail about CDS history and list of achievements to help you write your letter of support, you can download them here: CDS History and CDS History: Detailed
In your letter, please do not mention individual CDS staff by name, as this may have a negative effect.
People to contact
Professor Eric Thomas
Vice Chancellor
University of Bristol
Senate House
Tyndall Avenue
Bristol  BS8 1TH
Professor David Clarke
Deputy Vice Chancellor
(at the same address)
E mail:
Please copy any letters to: so we can monitor correspondence.
Thank you for your help. Together we can try and protect the global development of Deaf Studies from other similar threats in the coming wider financial crises.
Also, you can sign the petition, keep up to date with our Twitter stream and add a Twibbon to Your Twitter Avatar.


Feminist Avatar said...

It's not just this department under threat. Middlesex are cutting their entire philosophy dept; Sussex has cut all it's pre-19th C historians. We are creating a worldview that says unless your outcomes make *immediate* money, then you don't count. It not only discriminates but diminishes our culture.

Saranga said...

Not that I condone or encourage the cutting of any university departments, but plenty of Unis offer philosopy. I think it's worthwhile highlighting that only Bristol, Wolverhampton and I believe one London University offer a degree in Deaf Studies.

So, I'm more upset about the Bristol cuts than I am about Middlesex. The closure of the Deaf Studies course will have a direct impact on the future number of interpreters available (interpreters that are required by law don't forget), and will impact upon relations between the Deaf and hearing community.
The removal of the course also removes a source of Deaf pride and role models. It's a bloody travesty that the centre isn't part of the University's strategic aims and objectives.

It's more comparable with the lack of Linguistics degrees avaialble in the country. 10 years ago about 5 or 6 Unis in the UK offered linguistics. UEA recently closed their linguistics department, thereby reducing the expertise and knowledge available in a sorely under appreciated field.

If we don't value learning and other culturally beneficial aspects to certain degrees (like Deaf Studies) where the hell are we going to end up?