BYU students irate after sign language housing is nixed

Students at Bringham Young University protested the administration”s recent decision to discontinue the American Sign Language foreign-language housing after Summer 2001 last Friday afternoon. The protest was also used to promote a need for an ASL minor on campus. There was an interpreter present to sign the protesters” chants.

Jeannie Welch, director of foreign language student residences, said the protest shows a lack of information on the part of the students. Welch said the ASL program received so much interest that it was implemented off campus for fall 2000 through summer 2001. Welch also added that because the ASL program is not recognized as a major or minor, the ASL house cannot be a part of the on-campus foreign language residences.

Jack Rose, coordinator of the ASL program, said everything possible has been done to try to get an ASL minor and faculty are in full recognition of the benefits of the minor. Allison Freedman, part-time faculty for the ASL program, said a minor would help students with their marketability after graduation. Welch said proposals for a minor had been drafted but were turned down due in part to a “lack of qualified professorial personnel.”

MIT courses to go online for public

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced last week that it intends to make materials for nearly all its courses available on the Internet to the general public. The 10-year project, dubbed the MIT OpenCourseWare, is a groundbreaking step in Internet policy among higher learning academic institutions.

The project will feature lecture notes, course outlines, reading lists and assignments for each of MIT”s nearly 2,000 courses. MIT hopes the initiative will inspire self-study by interested individuals around the world and hopes it will help developing nations build their own systems of higher education, on the basis of MIT curriculum as a model. MIT also stressed the potential OCW has to open the dialogue on education by fostering an environment in which curricula can be more easily discussed and compared.

The project is not without its critics. One response to the initiative has been that increasing access to materials offered by MIT courses will decrease the value of an MIT education, but MIT spokesperson Patti Richards said the experience of being in the classroom, listening to lectures and interacting with one”s peers cannot be duplicated over the Internet and, furthermore, MIT will not offer any form of academic credit as part of OCW.

Other critics noted the legal complications that may arise with the distribution of copyrighted materials and intellectual property, but MIT said the same policies currently followed by its faculty when dealing with these issues will apply to the Internet courses as well.

The Citadel to gain cheerleading squad

The Citadel will soon be able to have its own squad of cheerleaders, now that the military institution has gone co-ed. The college has “borrowed” female students from the neighboring College of Charleston for its cheerleading team since the 1960s.

The Charleston cheerleaders must now leave the squad, though many of them wanted to continue to cheer until the end of their college years. Cheerleader Lauren Heesemann said she thought it was wrong for the Citadel to cut the current squad, but instead should have let them finish out as members of the squad till their senior years.

Associate Athletics Director Ray Whiteman said the Citadel believed the best decision concerning the cheerleading squad was either all-or-nothing. Athletics Director Les Robinson agreed the radical change was needed so that the Citadel”s cheerleaders are more representative of the school.

The Citadel now has 81 women enrolled since its desegregation in 1995.

Compiled from U-WIRE reports by Daily Staff Reporter Jane Krull.

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