Columbia College ASL Majors Tired of Not Being Heard
At a school like Columbia College Chicago, diversity and representation are things that the school is highly considerate of. One group, however, feels as though they are getting the short end of the stick: American Sign Language (ASL) majors.
“It’s like, when we yell, other students see our lips moving but can’t hear anything we’re trying to say,” says ASL major, sophomore Cindy Johnson. Johnson and many other students in the ASL department have noticed a severe lack of representation around Columbia College Chicago.
“I feel as though no one at Columbia is taking us seriously. We know we’re not really an art major, but we put on plays that are just as shitty as the theater department,” said Liam Smith, a senior ASL major.
When asked, just a just a few Columbia kids who are not majoring in ASL knew it was even a real department.
“I’m not sure you can major in a language here at Columbia,” said Chris Walker, a junior film major. “This is an art school, and languages are not art.”
Students in the ASL department have been working to make themselves a bigger part of Columbia’s community, hosting open mics nights, plays, and discussions. Many other Columbia students are unaware of these events or choose an improv show over them.
“We try to emulate what Columbia students seem to believe are most important, like bad shows that take up your Thursday nights,” Johnson said.
Many Columbia students are quick to assume their peers are doing things that are more inclusive and for the betterment of society only to add it to their Twitter bios. But to be fair, they usually are.
“No one in this department chose to study ASL to make us look better,” Johnson said. “We chose it because the deaf community deserves more respect and to be better understood. Unlike most Columbia students, we’re here because we actually care about what we’re studying.”
“I would love to learn ASL,” Jones added. “The more people I can network with, the better!”
ASL students often feel as though their peers are never listening when they talk about their major. The department is housed in 33 E. Congress, a building known for their sweet hammocks.
“Honestly, I didn’t know 33 E was a Columbia building until my third time eating at Cafecito,” Walker said.
The ASL department just wants you to know that they’re here, and they have something to say. No longer will they stand a college community that does not listen to them.
“The deaf community is going to be just as much of your fan base as hearing-abled people are,” Johnson said. “Columbia kids are basically already getting below a 59% on Rotten Tomatoes.”
The ASL department is encouraging all of Columbia to look past the end of their camera lenses and see what other students around campus are up too.
“I’m definitely interested in learning more about this community now,” Walker added. “Deaf people can use Twitter, right? Follow me @CW420 and DM me for a quiet shout out.”
Listen to our podcast!