The chief diversity officer at Gallaudet University was put on administrative leave Wednesday after the school learned she had signed a petition supporting efforts to reverse Maryland’s same-sex marriage law, media reports say.
Dr. Angela McCaskill signed the petition at her church after her preacher spoke against gay marriage, the Planet DeafQueer blog reported on Monday, citing a Gallaudet faculty member who first spotted the administrator’s name on the document. Voters in Maryland will decide on Nov. 6 whether to keep a state law passed earlier this year approving same-sex marriage.
“I want to inform the community that I have placed Dr. Angela McCaskill on paid administrative leave effective immediately. 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,” Gallaudet University President T. Alan Hurwitz said in a statement.“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.”
Gallaudet spokeswoman Catherine Murphy told Buzzfeed that the university did not have “a policy against political participation.” When asked about the nature of the petition and if the university had any policy regarding such political participation, Murphy told NBC News in an email: “For the moment we are sticking with this (Hurwitz) statement. Please understand that in an administrative personnel matter we won’t be saying anything more until we get complete clarity on what took place.”
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