Angela McCaskill | Gallaudet University | Gay Marriage | Maryland | News

Gallaudet University Places Diversity Provost on Leave for Signing Petition to Put Marriage Equality on Ballot

An administrator at Gallaudet University has been placed on paid leave after it was revealed that she had signed a petition to put Maryland's marriage equality law on the ballot (Question 6), the Washington Blade reports.

Angela_mccaskillDr. Angela McCaskill, the employee placed on leave, serves as the associate provost of diversity and inclusion.

The story broke in a story on the website PlanetDeafQueer, which said, in part:

A Gallaudet faculty member, who at this time wishes to remain anonymous, noticed Dr. McCaskill’s name, address and signature on the anti-gay marriage petition and inquired about it.  When confronted by the faculty member, Dr. McCaskill confirmed that she had in fact signed the petition and explained that she had done so while at church, after her preacher had preached against gay marriage.  As she was leaving, her husband pointed to the petition and she signed it without giving it further thought.

An official complaint was filed with the University last week by the mentioned faculty member and a meeting was held on Friday with Gallaudet University President, Dr. Alan Hurwitz.

Said the school’s president, T. Alan Hurwitz:

“It recently came to my attention that Dr. McCaskill has participated in a legislative initiative that some feel is inappropriate for an individual serving as Chief Diversity Officer; however, other individuals feel differently,” he said. “I will use the extended time while she is on administrative leave to determine the appropriate next steps taking into consideration the duties of this position at the university. In the meantime an interim Chief Diversity Officer will be announced in the near future.”

Buzzfeed adds:

Speaking with BuzzFeed, however, Gallaudet spokeswoman Catherine Murphy said, "We don't have a policy against political participation."

A man who identified himself as McCaskill's husband, reached by BuzzFeed, said that McCaskill would be consulting with a lawyer but had no comment at this time about being placed on leave.

Votefor6Marylanders for Marriage Equality released a statement on Thursay opposing the suspension, the Blade reports:

Josh Levin, campaign manager for Marylanders for Marriage Equality, released a statement early Thursday morning expressing opposition to Gallaudet’s decision to place Dr. Angela McCaskill, a Maryland resident and the school’s Associate Provost of Diversity and Inclusion, on paid administrative leave.

“We strongly disagree with the decision to put the chief diversity officer on leave and hope she is reinstated immediately,” Levin said in his statement. “Everyone is entitled to free speech and to their own opinion about Question 6, which is about treating everyone fairly and equally under the law.”

Levin’s statement followed by several hours a statement from Derek McCoy, chair of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, one of the leading groups calling on voters to defeat the same-sex marriage law in the referendum.

“I join an ever-growing number of Marylanders in expressing my complete dismay over Gallaudet University’s decision to place Dr. Angela McCaskill on administrative leave for signing the marriage referendum petition,” McCoy said.

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  1. TR has mega-trolls; Lil' Canadian, 'Jason', 'Rick', and so-on. It's BS. An obvious attempt to make people with reasonable but opposing views look bad by trolling outrageous and/or silly posts. And old, old game.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 11, 2012 10:10:24 AM

  2. She is free to sign whatever she likes but seeing as her actions indicate that she is opposed to diversity and inclusion then she is clearly not fit for purpose in her new job.

    She does not deserve to be fired - she should be moved to a job where her stupidity and bigotry will not damage other people.

    Posted by: MaryM | Oct 11, 2012 10:22:34 AM

  3. I think Marylanders for Marriage Equality should butt out of Gallaudet University's business. This woman has every right to sign a petition, but Gallaudet has every right to decide what is appropriate for an employee who is tasked with supporting minorities, including glbtq students and faculty. It is hard to trust an advocate who campaigns against equal rights.

    Posted by: Jay | Oct 11, 2012 10:25:23 AM

  4. Hey, free speech yeah sure. BUT, as a person responsible for creating and fostering diversity at a publicly funded school should she not have an inclusive attitude? Do you think she gives GLBT students a fair and balanced hand? Under these circumstances I would think that in her position she would work towards EXCLUDING GLBT students. She should be demoted, transferred or fired. Either way, you can promote diversity AND be against gay rights.

    Posted by: CW | Oct 11, 2012 10:31:00 AM

  5. Correction that should have been "Either way you CANT" not can, sorry for the typo

    Posted by: CW | Oct 11, 2012 10:32:35 AM

  6. BABH: Well, you said everything I was going to say, so I'll confine my comment to restating one of your points: you just know NOM is going to run with this one! "Persecuting someone for daring to hold an opinion!", etc.

    This is such a gift to that crowd that I can almost believe the university president is a Manchurian Candidate-style NOM plant.

    Posted by: Booker | Oct 11, 2012 10:56:07 AM

  7. Ratbastard, who is most certainly another alias of Rick/Jason, is trying to seem like a reasonable anti-troll member of TR. Don't be fooled by it. He's just as much a troll as either of those other aliases.

    Posted by: MateoM | Oct 11, 2012 10:56:28 AM

  8. And NOM won't just use this in Maryland, but also in Washington and Maine, imperiling our lead in those states. The timing of this couldn't be worse.

    Posted by: BABH | Oct 11, 2012 11:08:37 AM

  9. Gallaudet University is a clusterf*$%. They nearly lost accreditation a few years ago and now this? Our country's deaf and hard-of-hearing college students deserve better and I know that the Gally's sizable LGBT community is not happy about this.

    Posted by: John | Oct 11, 2012 11:38:44 AM

  10. @MATEOM,

    No sir/Madam, I AM NOT 'Rick', 'Jason' or any other persona. Ratbastard has no other alias.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 11, 2012 11:53:52 AM

  11. She has the right to sign whatever she wants but as the Provost for DIVERSITY and INCLUSION it looks really really bad. It demonstrates the exact OPPOSITE of what her position is supposed to. Gay people are part of "diversity" and "inclusion" INCLUDES gays so she's obviously not the right person for the position she holds.

    That makes a HUGE difference in this case.

    The position she holds at Gallaudet comes with a certain expectation that she not advocate AGAINST the rights of a marginalized group! So I don't blame Gallaudet for suspending her but the timing of it politically isn't great.

    Posted by: Caliban | Oct 11, 2012 1:50:54 PM

  12. Free speech means the government does not put one in prison for one's speech.

    Employers can fire employees whose speech indicate that they cannot fully meet all the requirements of a job.

    Posted by: Fester | Oct 11, 2012 3:07:37 PM

  13. This is, indeed, a tough one. While we're all entitled to freedom of speech (and that applies to the GOVERNMENT censoring us, not private employers), her personal political act (signing the position) potentially opens Gallaudet up to legal claims of discrimination by their Chief Diversity Officer should any student, faculty member or employee have any actionable complaint of discrimination. This was just dumb. Gallaudet is acting appropriately by putting her on leave while investigating more deeply.

    Posted by: MrRoboto | Oct 11, 2012 3:32:00 PM

  14. FESTER: As far as the 1st Amendment goes, yes; but the actions of employers can be limited by law and contracts. I don't have enough facts to determine how that relates to this case (I don't know anything about Maryland law, much less the terms of her contract), but if she were a DC resident, for example, there is a law that specifically outlaws private retaliation against someone for signing a petition.

    Posted by: Booker | Oct 11, 2012 3:35:11 PM

  15. "she signed it without giving it further thought"

    Scum. She has no place as a diversity provost.

    Posted by: Randy | Oct 11, 2012 5:36:56 PM

  16. I AM AMAZED AT....
    -- those who think her job is not still needed in 2012
    -- those who think she had a right to sign it without consequences.
    --- at the very least

    Posted by: Bob | Oct 11, 2012 6:06:19 PM

  17. I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement the concept. Thank you for the blog.

    Posted by: Men Ed Reed Jersey | Oct 12, 2012 1:50:59 AM

  18. I'm appalled that Marylander's for Marriage Equality had to rub their noses into this. They don't represent me or the entire LGBTQQA community, that's for sure. They speak only for themselves and I don't know what they were thinking by issuing such a press release. Obviously, this is politically motivated.

    Gallaudet President Hurwitz did the right thing. He took swift action. Had he not, the students would have probably gone on protest and even more chaos would have resulted. Dr. Mccaskill's ability to do her job was questioned and he had every right to put her on administrative leave. Keep in mind that this leave is a paid leave so she's basically getting a paid holiday while he determines how to best handle this situation.

    She misled the University into believing she was truly for diversity and inclusion when she accepted her job. I don't see how she could have obtained the job otherwise. She should be terminated for her dishonesty.

    Posted by: MB | Oct 12, 2012 7:28:16 PM

  19. Are you laughing, smiling and happy, or frowning, sad and worried? It seems as though negativity and dissatisfaction is quite commonplace and a happy, positive, upbeat mood and lifestyle is rare.

    Posted by: Bell Ross Replica Watches | Oct 15, 2012 6:02:54 AM

  20. A Gallaudet faculty member, who at this time wishes to remain anonymous, noticed Dr. McCaskill’s name, address and signature on the anti-gay marriage petition and inquired about it.

    Read more:

    Posted by: Replica Watches UK | Dec 24, 2012 11:09:02 PM

  21. "Emotional distress"? Honey, you haven't even begun to imagine scratching the surface of the tip of the ice-berg you may be in for.
    Sorry. You been whupped with a big, dumb-stick. You shouldn't be anywhere near an educational institution unless you're in a seat taking notes! Carefully. Please.

    Posted by: Geoff | Oct 2, 2013 5:14:36 PM

  22. Sister smells money and hopes to score some green from the Uni. In return, I hope they are going back and inspecting her timesheets and expense accounts for lapses in judgement.

    Posted by: grego | Oct 2, 2013 6:49:17 PM

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