Thursday, November 18, 2010

How we are feeling

To our friends, family and community,
The following email and attached letter was sent earlier to our dear friend Amy, who has been working tirelessly to try and let people know what has been going on this past week...It occurred to me that maybe everyone would like to hear it. Deb
This just came from our friend and neighbor (Shame On U). It completely captures how we feel we have been treated. If there are people you know that you could send it on to, please do. I have some information about Eliza now on the blog and will continue adding pictures to it and figure out how to post her power points she has done
throughout her middle and high school years. It will be of some comfort to have the community see all that she has accomplished with the support of her community, her family, her teachers and her friends. Thank you so much for your help. I woke up this morning and felt that the only thing that would make Eliza and our family feel better is an apology and accepting her unconditionally as a student at SOU. Any thing less will be what it is - rejection. Decency and compassion in the administration’s handling of this was non existent. Had they allowed her graciously to complete the course, she would have been able to finish with a full sense of pride in her accomplishments. As it is, she can no longer finish and she isn't ever allowed to go back as a student at SOU. We gave SOU, yet another request for resolution yesterday. They sat on it most of the day, then had the Dean of Students call Ron around 5:00 to say they had decided to allow Eliza to go in to the ceramic studio for 1 hour on Friday to glaze. (I can promise you, it will take her longer than that) They would not state in the phone call what their other decision was on our request to have her join her class for the last two classes on Nov. 30 and Dec 2, but rather said they would send their decision via certified letter to Eliza to arrive on Friday. You can not begin to know how their handling of this has been demeaning, humiliating and stripped of every thing decent. We are sustained only by the love, kind words and testimonials that have been steadily coming to us in support of Eliza and all our family has ever tried to accomplish. At this point, I feel a public apology would at least start to acknowledge how poorly this was handled and allowing her to enroll as a SOU student with their unwavering support and appreciation for who she is and what she brings to the people, following the same rules that every other student follows. If a professor would have her in their class as an auditing student and it is a class she has an interest in taking, then she should be allowed to enroll as a non-admitted student, come to class with her assistant and participate as a viable member of that class.
Last night, when I was crying uncontrollably at the whole injustice of it all - their attitude, their conclusion, their treatment of us and Eliza throughout the whole experience, I called my sister. Her son Matthew, who also happens to have Down syndrome, answered the phone. It was so nice to hear his voice. As I sobbed and spoke to my sister and brother in law, I slowly started recounting to them about the ceramics class itself. Eliza loved it. She enjoyed the other students. She worked conscientiously and with great focus in the designing, building and glazing of each of her pieces. She was shy moving within the class and some how decided that skipping through to the slab roller or over to wash her hands or on her way to the glaze room was her wish. She liked when the other students complimented her on her work. She was tremendously excited and focused intently the weekend before she was to do her self-evaluation critique on her coil tissue box which she presented to her fellow students and teacher, proudly showing her work and reading her hand written evaluation, explaining to her peers that she would display her tissue box by putting a real tissue coming out the top and placing it in a windowsill in the Snider Museum. Her pride, her smile, her pure joy at her accomplishments and working, just like everyone else on her projects, was of huge satisfaction. She loved this course and it was a great fit for her learning style. As I recounted this to my sister, I realized that it was the perfect place for her. She was motivated by the other students' work, listened quietly to how they talked about their work and then, when it was her turn, shined. She was appropriately accommodated and did absolutely nothing wrong. This is what hurts. She knows she has been dismissed, She knows the students want her back. The administration has treated her and us with an utter lack of human dignity under what feels and looks like attorney driven advice. Constant attempts by us for a resolution have been met with deaf ears from every administration level. Representative Peter Buckley has worked tirelessly to try and negotiate some way for Eliza to continue. Their rebuke of every attempt is a reflection that I think every community member should know - their Foundation, their financial supporters, their students, their faculty. I do not for an instant think that it is reflective of the vast majority of the SOU community, but for once I wish that everyone who has reason to think this is unacceptable, should speak out now, because without those voices, nothing ever changes. It shouldn't take law suits. It should be a University's obligation to listen to the community members who want it to change. The disrespect and the denying of this individual a chance to do what she so desperately wants, and is capable of doing, is wrong.

Deb Evans


  1. I was at SOU for 29 years and this current administration is the most discriminatory I have ever seen. They have no compassion or concern despite the public face they try to present. I am so sorry this has happened to your daughter and I hope that you and she receive fair resolution soon.

  2. Don't cry are in the right. Pick up the sword and fight for JUSTICE. We are all pulling for you.

  3. I wasn't surprised by their cold, heartless approach to Eliza.
    The whole Oregon University System needs to be overhauled. The people who run these state institutions are not held accountable for anything-EVER. I have experienced the discrimination, slander and defamation at the hands of University faculty and know the lengths these government workers will go to cover their mistakes.They are all criminals.