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The Daily Illini

Letter to the Editor: The University under represents deaf students

Courtney Delaney

Our University is a renowned institution when it comes to promoting disabled students and their success. However, recent research has shown that the University is significantly under representing the Deaf population of Illinois. Being a public university, it’s important that our school serves its state in the best way possible. This means accounting for more Deaf students on campus.

Within Illinois, 2.8 percent of the population live with a hearing disability. While not all of this 2.8 percent are of college age, the University is severely lacking. Currently, we have three Deaf students. If we were to accurately represent our state, there would be around 937 Deaf students on campus. The reason that this is a pressing issue relates back to a previous Daily Illini article highlighting a Deaf student and the difficulties she faces on campus.

From not being able to always communicate as easily to having a hard time understanding everything in class, she made it clear within that article, being one of the few Deaf students on campus is quite challenging. Increasing Deaf student outreach to draw more students to campus would create more opportunities and avenues for communication and success to the Deaf population in attendance. Knowing this, it’s hard seeing that the University plans to spend millions in the coming years on renovations and additions, such as a second student union.

First, I believe it’s important to focus on our students and providing opportunities in areas where they are lacking. Promoting Deaf culture and campus resources could aid in drawing more students to this renowned institution. Money put toward continued research could also draw in curious students ready to learn and grow on this campus created for success. In the future there may be chances to vote or speak on these issues and students’ opinions of them, knowing that other areas such as research and Deaf disability outreach are suffering, you could have the ability to speak up and lead our school’s money toward a better cause.

Courtney is a sophomore in ACES. 

cdelany2@illinois.edu

1 Comment

  • Tom Willard

    There is a huge difference between “living with a hearing disability” and being a culturally Deaf person, yet this writer tries to equate the two. I doubt that there are 937 culturally Deaf people of college age in Illinois with the ability to do college. Most deaf schools graduate only a handful of students every year. Here in Rochester NY, the deaf school only had one graduate last year. I’m sure if Deaf students are applying to your school and they are qualified, they will get in.