An Iowa community college has been accused of cultural appropriation after hearing instructors taught sign language classes.
Scott Community College offers a two-year program that teaches students American Sign Language and equips them to work as professional interpreters.
“ASL is the language of the deaf community and only exists because of deaf people,” wrote Dirk Hillard, president of the Quad-Cities Deaf Club, in an op-ed slamming the college’s program. “It is cultural appropriation to use the language of the deaf community to make money for your institution without including deaf people in the instruction and provision of those classes. When hearing people are chosen to teach ASL, it is a form of ableism and audism.”
Alan Campbell, a spokesman for Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, which includes Scott Community College, said many of Hillard’s claims seem to be based on false information.