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Gallaudet University Reinstates Diversity Officer Placed on Leave for Signing Petition to Put Marriage Equality on the Ballot

Angela McCaskill, the Gallaudet University associate provost of diversity and inclusion who was placed on leave in October after it was revealed that she signed a petition to put Maryland's marriage equality law on the ballot (Question 6), and subsequently appeared in an ad from the anti-gay Maryland Marriage Alliance opposing Question 6, has been reinstated by the university, the AP reports:

Angela_mccaskillUniversity president T. Alan Hurwitz announced the reinstatement of Angela McCaskill in an email to the campus community on Monday. The statement doesn’t elaborate on the reasons for the reinstatement, and university officials declined further comment.

The Washington Blade adds:

In his email message on Monday, Hurwitz didn’t say whether the reinstatement was based on any conditions. At the time he placed McCaskill on leave, Hurwitz hinted that he was sympathetic to concerns raised by gay and lesbian students on campus that it was inappropriate for the campus diversity officer to push for a ballot measure seeking to deny gays and lesbians the right to marry.

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“During the past three months a large number of you have taken the initiative to communicate with me,” Hurwitz said in his email. “This has been a period of reflection for all of us. I am deeply appreciative of the time you have taken to communicate your views, of the clearly heartfelt manner in which you have expressed those thoughts, and of the overall maturity you have shown in your willingness to consider the differing views others may hold.”

He added, “The work of the University’s Office of diversity and Inclusion is vital and must continue in an active and vibrant way. I personally look forward to working with Dr. McCaskill on the work of that office.”


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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