The president of Gallaudet University said in a statement today that the university would like to "work with" the chief diversity officer who was placed on leave for signing a petition about same-sex marriage.
Angela McCaskill signed a petition to put Maryland's same-sex marriage law on the ballot, but she said she only signed it so the issue could be decided by the democratic process.
In the statement, President T. Alan Hurwitz said:
As many know, Dr. McCaskill exercised her right to sign a petition concerning legislation on gay marriage. Because of her position at Gallaudet as our Chief Diversity Officer, many individuals at our university were understandably concerned and confused by her action. They wanted to know "does that action interfere with her ability to perform her job?"
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.
J. Wyndal Gordan, an attorney for McCaskill, said Monday that she is not “anti-gay,” and he noted that she has not expressed her personal view on the matter. She will do that in the voting booth, he said.
McCaskill is scheduled to speak in Annapolis today.
McCaskill, who lives in Upper Marlboro, was placed on leave last week. Gordon said he is exploring legal options to get her reinstated.
Gallaudet is the nation's leading university for the deaf and the hard of hearing.
Maryland lawmakers passed a law this year recognizing same-sex marriage, and voters in the state will weigh in on whether to keep the measure on Election Day.