Gallaudet University President “Expects a Resolution” to Allow McCaskill to Stay

Jim Burroway

October 16th, 2012

Chris Geidner reports that Gallaudet University’s Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Angela McCaskill, is scheduled to hold a press conference with her lawyer in Annapolis, MD., today, possibly to discuss legal action that she may be considering after Gallaudet’s president, Alan Hurwitz, placed her on administrative leave. Hurwitz placed McCaskil on paid leave after it was revealed that McCaskill signed a petition forcing Maryland’s same-sex marriage law to go on the ballot as Question 6. Hours before that news conference was set to take place, Hurwitz issued a statement “indicat(ing) forcefully that Gallaudet University would like to work with its Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Angela McCaskill, to enable her to return to the community from her administrative leave.”

 I placed her on paid administrative leave as a prudent action to allow the university—and Dr. McCaskill—the time to consider this question after the emotions of first reactions subsided. While this has become an issue beyond our campus, as President of Gallaudet University, my number one concern is our university community—our students, faculty and staff and so many others who support us. I act on their behalf, not with any agenda other than their well-being as all of us work to prepare these university students for the future. While I expect that a resolution of this matter can be reached that will enable Dr. McCaskill to continue as our Chief Diversity Officer, this will require that she and the University community work together to respond to the concerns that have been raised.

…Dr. McCaskill has been, and can continue to be, a valued member of this community and we are very much interested in working with everyone to come to a shared understanding in an environment that allows the community to rebound and move forward.


October 16th, 2012

Diversity officer or no, I think this response to a (sadly unexceptional) political action is wrong.


October 16th, 2012

It’s a PR nightmare. A black female claims her religious liberty and economic well-being is assaulted by homosexual interests, and guess which side wins in the end? The one with the bigger population representation.


October 16th, 2012

This feels strangely defensive. Methinks the lawyers have already met and the school is cutting its losses.

Regan DuCasse

October 16th, 2012

I’m getting very sick of the way the dissenters softball the gravity of what they are doing.
They whine that these responses to their political action is because they ‘disagree’.
They claim THEIR rights are compromised, for ‘stating their opinion’.

At any time, when a majority of people uses that advantage to do serious deliberate harm to a minority they defame and try to suppress, that is not stating an opinion or disagreeing, that is oppression.
She participated in a specific political action that is to be used against gay people in a way that harms them.
She didn’t express an opinion or disagree with a gay person.
She acted in such a way as to assure they’d continue to have a status anathema to the freedoms she has without challenge.
And considering her job description SHE acted inappropriately and the school put her on notice of it.


October 16th, 2012

Regan, I’m sorry you’re feeling sick. Take two Constitutions and call someone in the morning.


October 16th, 2012

Andrew, the constitution has zero to do with this. You’re aware that the first amendment doesn’t apply to non-government people and organizations, yes?


October 16th, 2012

They do and they don’t. It depends on the context. There are, for example, elections laws that prohibit coercion. This may well fall into that category.

Now, they should and they shouldn’t is another matter.

Do you really want the same standard applied to your ability to sign a petition, join a political party, or vote your conscience? The government doesn’t get to call the shots, but your employer can call all the shots, even for lawful and constitutionally protected activities that take place outside of work?

This year, we have employers forcing employees to take unpaid time to stand behind political candidates on a stage for photo ops or face action. We have employees being told that if they vote the wrong way, their jobs are in jeopardy.

That seems to be the mode people here are embracing, as long as it favors your side.

I’ve been saying it for a week: this sword cuts both ways.


October 16th, 2012

News at 11:00, I guess.

I’m not so much convinced that she’s anti-gay as that she’s stupidly ignorant of the issues that face us.

If so, this suggests that her credentials for the job are shaky. Personally, I’ll be looking for some reference to her actual understanding of the forces that face the students for whom she is supposed to be an advocate.


October 16th, 2012

Do keep in mind there are many Christian colleges that would fire someone on the spot for signing a pro marriage petition.

Mark F.

October 16th, 2012

Suppose polygamy was the ballot. If she signed a petition to put the issue before the voters, would that mean she was “insensitive” to the students favoring polygamy and should be fired? (Note: I’m taking no position on polygamy.)


October 16th, 2012

Andrew, you’re being willfully obtuse. This isn’t a case of an employer firing an employee for voting the wrong way. This is the case of an employer potentially firing an employee for expressing a viewpoint that is diametrically in opposition to her job. It is no different than NOM firing an employee for expressing support for gay marriage, even if they did their job perfectly. That said, as I said before, pick your battles. The potential for groups like NOM and FRC to spin this and falsely present it as some unfair targeting of someone for their opinion is too great, especially right before an election. It kind of sucks for the gay kids at that school, but them’s the breaks. I also admit to not having the slightest idea what a diversity officer does, or if such a position is really needed.


October 19th, 2012

No viewpoint pro or con was expressed Brian. The petition & the referendum are about the text-of-the-bill not about the subject.

Timothy Kincaid

October 19th, 2012


Your argument about the text of the bill being other than the subject of the bill is presenting a distinction without a difference. The text is the subject.

McCaskill did not respond to her pastor’s sermon about how every bill should be presented to the public for a vote. Let’s not pretend that this is the case.


October 19th, 2012

My argument appears to be a distinction without a difference but it is THE difference.

If we’re going to get our rights via the legislative process than we are subject to the legislative mechanisms in place. Including People’s Vetos. This is not Prop 8, where they’re using a Constitutional Amendment inappropriately as a People’s Veto. This process is a part of every bill that passes in Maryland. The petition and the referendum are related to and directly about the Bill itself. Not the underlying issues. One might vote against the bill & still support gay marriage. Because GAY MARRIAGE IS NOT THE ISSUE OF THE REFERENDUM; gay marriage is only the subject of the bill put up for approval by the people of Maryland. I thought posting the link to a copy of the standard petition form would make this clear; but I’m sorry you still don’t understand how the legislative process works in Maryland.

To reiterate.
In Maryland the only outlet for direct democracy is the people’s veto which was used for this bill. This is precisely why I oppose direct democracy. It does not guarantee rights for unpopular minorities and it can result in unethical plebiscites.

If we’re going to move toward marriage equality legislatively rather than through the courts we have to respect the legislative process.

When people in Maryland sign these sorts of petitions (which are all the same except for the Name of the bill) they are indicating their support for the principals of direct democracy and nothing further can be inferred. They are saying “Bill A” should be subjected to a plebiscite; and nothing more.

I don’t know what her underlying views are. Neither do you. Neither does anyone commenting here. And there’s no way to determine as much with the evidence we have available to us.

We’re all grasping at straws. You just think your straws are some sort of solid proof or something.

Priya Lynn

October 19th, 2012

Blake people who support marriage equality don’t want it put up for a vote. We know what McCaskill’s position is, you can play dumb if you want to.

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