Gallaudet President Issues Statement

Statement from President T. Alan Hurwitz regarding the Chief Diversity Officer:

Dear Campus Community,

I am sending this communication to indicate forcefully that Gallaudet University would like to work with its Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Angela McCaskill, to enable her to return to the community from her administrative leave.

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.My practice, which I will continue, is to reach out to the campus community to ensure that we are acting with their best interests in mind. To accomplish that, dialogs among those with differing views are common on our campus as a way of fostering understanding of the opinions, and the individuals holding them, which are different from ours.I have complete confidence that the community will emerge stronger because of this situation. In particular, I am incredibly proud of our students – as well as our faculty and staff — who have shown maturity and restraint under the pressures of the complexities of the situation.Dr. McCaskill has been, and can continue to be, a valued member of this community and we are very much interested in working with everyone to come to a shared understanding in an environment that allows the community to rebound and move forward.

Each of us would benefit from remembering that everyone should be treated with civility and respect as we work together to create a positive and welcoming environment that is open to the free exchange of ideas and the acceptance of others who may hold views that differ from ours.

  • Jeremiah Sammons

    This is a HUGE mistake! While I have always liked Dr. McCaskill and respected the many contributions she has made to our community, I am unable to reconcile her willingness to sign a petition which would deny a minority group rights that many in the majority take for granted, with the caring, intelligent, supportive educator we all know and admire.

    Personally, I have nothing but the highest regard for Dr. McCaskill as a person… but I have lost all respect and faith in her as Gallaudet University’s Chief of Diversity! I don’t agree with the watered-down version of “diversity” that Presidet Hurwitz is selling, that all viewpoints should be accepted…because that is NOT true, not all viewpoints are acceptable. For our university to TRULY encourage diversity, it means protecting the rights of those who are structurally underrepresented… to prevent injustice… and to provide shelter/encouragement to those who are fighting against an overwhemning majority who seek to deny them the same civil rights/protections enjoyed by those in power. “Diversity” has no place viewpoints which perpetuate the imbalance of power, where the majority can strip away the basic human rights of a minority, because of privilege.

    Shame on Dr. McCaskill for signing that petition, for conveniently “forgetting” the oppression she has had to overcome as a successful Deaf, Woman of Color while aiding hate-mongers using the mask of religion to oppress another group that is struggling for basic civil protections. Perhaps even worse, in my mind, shame on President Hurwitz for not acknowledging Dr. McCaskill’s betrayal of the LGBTQA Community for what it is, trying to excuse this example of blatant bigotry by labeling her actions as merely having a “different opinion”, and most of all shame on him for having the gall to whitewash the entire incident by citing it as AN EXAMPLE OF GALLAUDET’S COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY!!!!!!!

    (So what’s next Gallaudet, should we hire a KKK member to run “Keeping the Promise”? How about a Neo-Nazi to administer our Hillel group? According to President Hurwitz it is perfectly acceptable for people with “differing views” to administer groups whose agenda conflict with their own… because we all know how great administrators are about separating their personal and professional opinions… or at least that is what the people in positions of power and privilege always say.)