"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. 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."A group called "Marylanders for Marriage Equality" who is for the Maryland's Civil Marriage Protection Act had this to say about Dr. McCaskill's right to her own opinion regarding the referendum petition she signed.
Marylanders for Marriage Equality issued this statement by campaign manager Josh Levin.
"We strongly disagree with the decision to put the chief diversity officer on leave and hope she is reinstated immediately. Everyone is entitled to free speech and to their own opinion about Question 6, which is about treating everyone fairly and equally under the law."Was this an attempt to squelch Dr. Angela McCaskill's freedom of speech through intimidation exercises? Some may say yes. Others say no. An another witch hunt attempt to get another deaf employee fired for having an opinion? Was Dr. Angela McCaskill's free speech infringed upon? Marylanders for Marriage Equality thinks so.
So far there are 7 responses in the Associated Press' comment section with one being the most vocal:
Dr. Hurwitz:The next question is that if she is let go by president Hurwitz for exercising her constitutional and civil rights to vote or even sign a petition to get a referendum on the ballot so voters can have an option will she sue Gallaudet University for damages for infringing on her rights? What will president Hurwitz do next? Only time will tell.
I just read on line of your placing Dr. Angela McCaskill on administrative leave because she signed a petition to place an anti gay-marriage referendum on the ballot in Maryland. Although I live in Louisiana and have no connection with your University or anyone involved in this incident, I was so shocked to hear that such action would be taken merely for the exercise of one's civil rights that I felt compelled to contact you. Surely we have not arrived at a point where employees of universities are expected to waive their civil rights in order to be employed in any position at the University. The fact that she was a diverse city officer should have absolutely no bearing on this issue. I hope that you will use this as an opportunity to reaffirm your University's commitment to freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. The mere act of placing her on administrative leave has a chilling effect, and should be corrected quickly. Should you and the University not correct this egregious infringement on Ms. McCaskills civil rights I certainly hope that she takes appropriate legal action. Please do the right thing in this matter.
From U.S. News:
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.”
McCaskill was the first deaf African American female to earn a Ph.D. from Gallaudet, where she has worked for 23 years in various roles, including becoming the deputy to the president and associate provost of diversity and inclusion in 2011, according to her biography on the university website. She did not respond to an email seeking comment and it was not possible to leave a phone message.
Fire an African American Gallaudet University employee for political participation at her church and exercising her freedom of expression, freedom of speech, constitutional and civil rights?
Good luck, president Hurwitz.
Update number 2.
This is simply an old fashioned witch hunt in the hope to have the person fired for expressing an alternative political opinion. This is strangely familiar since this happened to another deaf person for expressing a political opinion on a sensitive deaf-related issue did people try and get this person fired for having an opinion in her own personal blog.