Board Meeting Day 2
Deaf Member-At-Large Ritchie Bryant
Region I Representative Lewis Merkin

Hello, we are here to provide you an update on Board meeting day two.

Having our meeting in the Ole Jim – the Alumni House – gives us a true sense of the history around us of the Deaf community. The Executive Director of the Gallaudet University Alumni Association, Sam Sonnenstrahl, shares a bit of history with us each day. For example, Thursday, Sam talked about class traditions.  He illustrated the process by describing the movement of a class of students through their collective process from freshman year to graduation and how the tradition started in the freshman year would be carried through to graduation.  For example, maybe you have heard of the Rat Funeral…where students engage in a processional to bury a pair of (stuffed) rats in recognition of completing their first year of study.  The next year, that same class would put a slab over the grave with an inscription.  The next year, they might plant a tree.  And, then, in the final year, create a class flag to hang from the rafters in Ole Jim. Pretty cool! The building has the warmth and memories of those who have come before. What the walls have seen is quite amazing and to hold our meeting here – is equally impactful.

In addition to the history of the alumni house, the Board was lucky enough to take a lunch tour of the campus. Our tour guide, Evon Black, shared the great history of this campus. To see some pictures from our tour, go to the RID Facebook page. They were posted yesterday afternoon. If you haven’t been to Gallaudet, I hope that the mystic and magnificence of the history of this campus comes through the pictures.

Our day of business started with our daily ritual of power and privilege training, again led by Deaf Member at Large, Ritchie Bryant.

Building on yesterday’s discussion, today’s focus was on the impact of stereotyping—what it is, why it occurs, and what are the implications. The board members played a game of Stereotype, which allowed us to explore a number of stereotypes that exist related to Black individuals.  This opened up a dialogue about how societal systems—such as discrimination in the job market—lead to decline in the socio-economic conditions of marginalized groups and contribute to the perpetuation of stereotypes.  Over time, these stereotypes, which are actually indicative of societal barriers, become a form of self-fulfilling realities for some marginalized groups.  The outcome of today’s activities was an increased awareness that when confronted with stereotypes, it is important to consider them at a deep enough level to understand the societal barriers that are the source of them.

The board had a very extensive discussion about the moratorium, after considering the HQ report and action plans, as well as following up on some discussions from the day before.

These discussions led to the following actions and unanimous decisions:

  • Passed a motion to form a CDI bridge plan workgroup.
  • Passed motion to approve the scope of work for the CDI Bridge Plan workgroup.
  • Passed motion to approve the CDI test development plan submitted by the RID Certification Department.

A CDI Bridge plan is a list of criteria that a candidate would need to meet in lieu of taking the performance exam. This enables the ongoing certification of deaf interpreters while the funding is solidified for the development of the CDI exam.

We know you are curious as to what this means for CDI development and testing. We will be working on a FAQ related to these matters and have that to you in the near future.

The Board is still considering all other aspects of the moratorium including the NIC, SC:L and OTC. Today we were able to hone in on the CDI with some resolution that addresses both the need for test development and opening the certification pipeline for Deaf Interpreters.

At the end of the day, the Board also discussed the role and purpose of the Board Reports. As it stands, those are currently considered internal documents shared among the Board. As we continue to review the governance structure and our reports to the members, including but not limited to the meeting minutes, the Board will consider other ways to share relevant and timely information with the members.

That is it for Day 2 – look for another update tomorrow.