Gallaudet University has placed a senior administrator on leave after she reportedly signed a petition against Maryland’s same-sex marriage law.
The school’s president, T. Alan Hurwitz, confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that he has placed Dr. Angela McCaskill, associate provost of diversity and inclusion, on paid administrative leave.
“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.”
The website PlanetDeafQueer reported that an unidentified Gallaudet faculty member filed a complaint with the university last week after discovering McCaskill had signed the petition that prompted the Nov. 6 referendum on the same-sex marriage law that Gov. Martin O’Malley signed in March. A database of signatories that the Washington Blade published in July notes that Angela Patrice McCaskill of Upper Marlboro in Prince George’s County signed it.
McCaskill has been in her current position since Jan. 2011. Her official biography says she has worked at Gallaudet for 23 years.
“Dr. McCaskill’s decision to sign the petition does not automatically declare her support for or against same-sex marriage. It merely indicates that she wants to see the decision made by the people and not the legislature. But if her employer is able to restrict her right to engage in the petition-gathering phase of democracy, are they also allowed to enter the voting booth and dictate how she votes?” said Derek McCoy, chair of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, the group opposed to Maryland’s same-sex marriage law, in a statement. “Unfortunately, this is only the latest in a long list of attacks on individuals who express support for marriage as a union between one man and one woman. If such attacks can be made before same-sex marriage is law, how can homosexual activists in good faith say that religious liberties will not be attacked if Question 6 passes?”
The Blade will provide further updates as they become available.