[Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Angela McCaskill issued the following statement shortly after attending a Deaf LGBT event on campus.]
March 1, 2013
Dear Campus Community,
This communication is overdue, and I offer my apologies for its delay. After much reflection, I want to address you as Chief Diversity Officer (CDO).
In late October, I exercised my right to sign a petition which resulted in a wide range of feelings, concerns, and reactions across campus. Since that time, many of you have desired to have conversations with me–administrators, members of Diversity Advisory Board (DAB), and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. There remain unanswered questions and mixed feelings about this incident and my return to office. I am deeply saddened by the discord we are experiencing.
Since my return in January, I have been working constantly with members of the DAB, President Hurwitz, and others to bring reconciliation to OUR community at Gallaudet. Prior to my return, the DAB began working with an external consulting group to develop effective ways to dialogue in order to restore harmony. My sincere thanks to DAB for all its efforts and strategic planning. I look forward to our continued partnership.
President Hurwitz’s State of the University address invited and charged us to “Commit to acknowledge, support, and engage all others. Commit to mutually respectful dialogue, attitudes, and kind gestures. Commit to opening the gates wide. And finally, commit to being heroes for one another.” It is in this spirit that I am working along with other administrators, staff, faculty, and students to create opportunities for honest and open dialogue.
Gallaudet is a diverse university with many voices, identities, and ways of being. As CDO, my goal is to move our campus toward greater inclusion and acceptance of all and to create an environment that embodies a “commitment to open the gates wide.”
In order to do this, WE must listen to the voices of our community and engage in discourse that allows us to heal our wounds. The following meetings are currently scheduled:
- Faculty Senate, Monday, March 11, 4-4:30 p.m.
- LGBTQ Students, Tuesday, March 12, 6-8 p.m.
- Gallaudet Staff Council, Thursday, April 4, 12:30-1:50 p.m.
The locations for these meeting will be announced in the Daily Digest.
Over the next several months, the DAB and I will schedule meetings with students, faculty, staff, and organizations to accomplish the following:
- Create space for authentic dialogue that will foster healing and reconciliation
- Understand how I, as CDO, can be supportive of all communities here at Gallaudet.
- Consider what our next steps may look like if we are to succeed in creating a more inclusive campus environment.
A great leader said, “We can’t lead where we won’t go: we can’t teach what we don’t know.” I am willing to take this journey and learn along the way. I ask that you join me in this enormous task.
Chief Diversity Officer