SGA sheds light on American Sign Languages and other initiatives

By Katie Devoe
News staff writer
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The excitement and anticipation students felt about the upcoming Thanksgiving break was present in the last Student Government Association meeting before break. Although many people wanted to leave for the holiday, the SGA passed an important student bill, SSB 017-015, and will continue to plan events for the semester.
SGA voted to make American Sign Language an option for people to take the foreign language requirement. Currently, the Department of Modern Languages offers classes in Spanish, French, German, Portuguese and Cherokee.
Austin Dowdy, executive of  academic affairs, worked with the Office of Academic Accessibility and the Department of Modern Languages to form the basis of the bill.
“This is something that I’ve been working closely on and crafting with and talking to students with disabilities who have not been able to experience the same cultural language immersion that we’ve been able to take a second language class here at UNCA,” Dowdy said.
Students want to see ASL as a language option and have expressed interest in having ASL as a course option at UNCA, Dowdy said.
“I know from conversations that I’ve had with campus there’s a huge interest in American Sign Language,” Dowdy said. “People want to take American Sign Language, just to know, it’s a very valuable skill.”
Dowdy said he plans to carry out the ASL initiative by working with the Office of Accessibility and Modern Languages to offer the classes on campus.
The SGA continued to discuss their plans for the end of the semester and the spring semester. Michael Davis, executive of diversity initiatives, said the survey for the chancellor search was emailed out to students recently.
“So this is an opportunity to speak up so your voice can be heard. We are definitely asking that you speak out and let us know what you’re looking for,” Davis said.
The search for a new chancellor involved feedback from students, alumni, faculty and staff.
Tim Hussey, SGA president, said in the next few months they are planning Greenfest for the spring semester.
“The focus for Greenfest this year is breaking the color barrier in sustainability,” Hussey said.