In December of 2019, The Deaf Report penned and released an article spotlighting some relationships within the community that raised questions; however, with its shutdown, no documentation of the original article exists. Deaf Vee has done a full rewrite to help maintain accurate documentation of relationships within the community.
The Deaf Counseling Center (DCC) and National Deaf Therapy (NDT) are two of the more commonly known names of behavioral health organizations that specialize in counseling services for the Deaf community. NDT is located in Colorado and DCC is located in Maryland. A few articles previously discussed the ethics behind DCC’s practice of hijacking multiple usernames and accounts on various social media accounts that could be easily confused with their competitors’ accounts. There was a question on whether this was done on purpose, and some of the connections between community organizations and NDT began to raise eyebrows.
Vivienne Schroeder, an employee at Gallaudet University as their coordinator of enrollment communications had been the biggest voice against the unjust behavior by DCC. Schroeder posted multiple posts and created a Facebook group in protest of what DCC was doing to NDT. It’s important to keep in mind that Schroeder has nothing “obvious” to do with NDT or DCC, and yet she had admitted later in a video that she is very good friends with the NDT founders as stated in the original article.
Her relationship with the NDT founders isn’t what struck people as odd about her outcry – it was the fact that Gallaudet University remained mum. Gallaudet has a long time reputation among faculty and staff members as notoriously strict about making sure their employees don’t ruffle any feathers. Except, in this case, Gallaudet was allowing Schroeder to continue to rally against DCC. Gallaudet despises anything that brings negative publicity unless it is beneficial to them. This difference of reaction [or lack thereof] led to some assessment of connections between CSD, Gallaudet, and the Schroeder family.
Shown below are some points that were shared in the original article:
- Vivienne Schroeder works at Gallaudet according to Gallaudet’s website as the Coordinator of Enrollment Communications
- Schroeder is also close friends with the founders of National Deaf Therapy
- NDT is the Communication Service for the Deaf’s [CSD] fourth social venture project
- NDT’s CEO, Amanda Kate Sortwell Crane, is the current daughter-in-law of Jameson Crane Jr., who is a Gallaudet University Board member (also a former CSD Board member)
- Crane Jr.’s son is also business partners with Jonathan Soukup, Benjamin Soukup’s other son, who happens to be the brother of Chris Soukup, the CEO of CSD
- The second Gallaudet University Board member (20+ years according to the ZVRS website) who is also on the CSD Board would be Phil Bravin. Bravin is the Director of the CSD Board at this time, and he just happens to be the Vice President, Product Strategy and Innovation for ZVRS.
- Marilyn Smith is a CSD Board member for their Social Venture Fund and a founder of ADWAS, which is also where Megan Erasmus works at. Megan is co-founder with Amanda for NDT. A possible conflict of interest exists here.
Schroeder herself responded to the original article and shared her vested interest, but she did not comment any further about Gallaudet University. Once Schroeder’s vlog was released, everything went quiet. Although Schroeder’s followers perceived the article as a piece attacking Schroeder, many others found it very interesting and questioned if NDT intended to “foster business opportunities” as per CSD’s mission behind the Social Venture Fund projects (since NDT is one of their SVF projects). Or is NDT doing the very thing that Schroeder was accusing DCC of doing, monopolizing the mental health field?
Either way, Gallaudet University hires individuals who come from CSD, such as Brandi Rarus and Bryce Chapman (an individual who was convicted of VRS fraud). We are left with this conclusive statement: Communication Services for the Deaf is directly connected to both Gallaudet University and NDT.