Gallaudet University announced Monday that it had reinstated its chief diversity officer, Dr. Angela McCaskill, after she was placed on paid administrative leave in October for signing a church petition against Maryland’s gay marriage law.
“With this communication I am announcing that Dr. Angela McCaskill has returned to campus to resume her full-time duties and responsibilities as Chief Diversity Officer,” Gallaudet President T. Alan Hurwitz said in a university-wide email obtained by the Washington Blade.
According to Hurwitz, McCaskill’s suspension was prompted by concerns raised by gay and lesbian students on campus who felt it was inappropriate for the campus diversity officer to push for a ballot measure seeking to deny their right to marry.
His decision, however, was criticized by both proponents and opponents of Maryland’s gay marriage law, which was successfully upheld in a voter referendum this past November. Maryland, along with Maine and Washington, became one of the first states to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote with the first licenses issued midnight on New Year’s Day.
“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.”
McCaskill had previously sought, in addition to reinstatement to her position, compensation from Gallaudet for damage to her reputation. Hurwitz didn’t state if McCaskill’s reinstatement came with any conditions, while university spokesperson Kaitlin Luna said there are “legal matters” the university was not at liberty to discuss.
“The work of the University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion is vital and must continue in an active and vibrant way,” Hurwitz added. “I personally look forward to working with Dr. McCaskill on the work of that office.”