SASL Newsletter - Spring 2016 Issue

The Power of ASL A So ci et y Supp o rti ng La nguag e, Li te rac y, and Perf orm ing Art s in t he Si gne d Mo da li ty Spring 2016 A Newsletter of the Society for American Sign Language Issue 1 By  Jody  H.  Cripps After a lot of hard work over a short period of time, the inaugural symposium for Society for American Sign Language (SASL) was launched on November 14, 2015 at Towson University near Baltimore, Maryland. As a Towson University faculty member and one of the co-founders of SASL, I took the responsibility of chairing this event. The title for the symposium was Celebration of Sign Language 2015: Revisiting Language, Literacy, and Performing Arts. As the title suggests, much work has been done with ASL over the years, and it was time to take a step back and create a clear direction and new priorities that focus on continuing to celebrate ASL. Over 100 individuals attended the symposium that took place in the afternoon and culminated in an evening performance. The symposium began with SASL’s first formal Executive Council (EC) meeting in the morning, which was deemed highly productive. The Executive Council is made up of nine members: Mr. Gabriel Arellano, Dr. Patrick Boudreault, Dr. Andrew Byrne, Dr. Jody Cripps (which is me), Mr. Ronald Fenicle, Dr. Russell Rosen, Mr. Harvey Nathanson, Dr. Deirdre Schlehofer, and Dr. Sam Supalla. Dr. Supalla was voted as the organization’s first President, myself as Vice President, Dr. Byrne as Secretary, and Mr. Nathanson as Treasurer. In the afternoon, the symposium proceeded with six scholars from around the country. They each presented in ASL. Dr. Boudreault of Gallaudet University was the first presenter, and he focused on language preservation. He talked in depth about the intriguing signed language situation in Quebec, Canada and how signed languages are subject to declining use among the primary users, namely deaf people. The second presenter was Dr. Rosen of City University of New York at Staten Island who reviewed the rapid growth of ASL classes in high schools, colleges, and universities in the United States. Among many points made is that signing is not limited to deaf people, and that its learning and use are beneficial for all individuals, irrespective of one’s hearing status. The Power of ASL 1 Spring 2016 – Issue 1 (Continued to page 4)