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March 9, 2004

Program about deaf people tonight at UI

From: Iowa City Press Citizen - Iowa City,IA,USA - Mar 9, 2004

By Gigi Wood
Iowa City Press-Citizen

Residents will not be chastised for talking with their hands tonight.

In fact, talking with your hands will be encouraged, as long as you're speaking American Sign Language.

The University of Iowa American Sign Language Club is hosting Deafology 101 at 7 p.m. in 1505 Seamans Center, to teach people about signing and deaf culture.

Each year, the club hosts a large event in honor of students at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., who protested in 1988 to get a deaf school president. They won.

"So, now, we pick a week where we support what they did and celebrate," said Michelle Nolan, 21, a UI senior who studies American Sign Language.

National signer Ken Glickman, known as "Professor Glick," will present at tonight's event. In sign language, Glickman discusses the cultural differences between hearing and deaf people. Two voice interpreters will be available.

"It's an introduction into deaf culture," Nolan said. "He talks about a lot of deaf/hearing puns you might not be aware of as a hearing person."

Nolan, who can hear, was inspired to learn sign language after a presentation in third grade. She hopes to continue her sign language studies in graduate school.

"Most schools are just beginning to acknowledge signing as a foreign language," she said. "Hopefully, I will be able to go to a school that already has a program."

She has learned a lot about deaf culture since third grade.

"The good-bye process can take hours," she said. "You don't know when you're going to see that person again, and you can't call in to say you're OK because they can't use the phone."

There is a strong storytelling culture in the deaf community, as well. And accommodations need to be made for signing in the dark. Signing also has advantages.

"You can sign in a loud room," Nolan said. "Or through a window."

If you go
  What: Deafology 101.
  When: 7 p.m. today.
  Where: 1505 Seamans Center, UI campus.
  Cost: Free.
  Details: Call 337-8323 or visit for more information about the event and the UI American Sign Language Club. The club meets at 7 p.m. Wednesdays in the Iowa Memorial Union.

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