WASHINGTON, D.C., January 9, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Gallaudet University has reinstated its chief diversity officer, Angela McCaskill, after she was suspended last year for signing a petition to allow voters the opportunity to nullify a state law allowing same-sex “marriage.”
McCaskill’s reinstatement was announced Monday in an e-mail to students, staff and faculty from university President T. Alan Hurwitz. “This has been a period of reflection for all of us,” wrote Hurwitz. “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.”
Hurwitz did not provide a reason for McCaskill’s reinstatement in the email he sent out, and the university has refused to comment further on the matter, citing legal concerns.
McCaskill’s attorney, J. Wyndal Gordon, said he’s still pursuing additional legal and financial redress with the university.
“I think Dr. McCaskill is entitled to some restoration of her reputation and I think the university has not come to full grips with that,” said Gordon. “[W]e want to be a little more persuasive with them,” he said, adding that in his opinion, “Dr. McCaskill has been damaged as a result of this.”
McCaskill was suspended in October after a homosexual blogger publicized the fact that she signed a petition to support Question 6, the Maryland ballot measure that sent the same-sex “marriage” law passed by the state legislature to voters for a referendum. The referendum was supported by pro-family groups throughout the state, leading homosexual activists to paint McCaskill’s support as “anti-gay.”
At the time, McCaskill declined to state her own position on same-sex “marriage,” saying she signed the petition simply because she believed Maryland voters deserved a chance to weigh in on the issue before it became law. Despite that, Hurwitz placed McCaskill on leave, saying she “participated in a legislative initiative that some feel is inappropriate for an individual serving as chief diversity officer.”
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Upon her reinstatement, McCaskill told WJLA-TV that she was happy to be back on the job. “I’m here back at the university and thrilled to be back here,” she said. “I know there are many challenges ahead for me and I look forward to working with the faculty, staff and students here as we move forward to make Gallaudet a more inclusive university and the area of higher education that shows respect for different points of view.”
Malcolm Kline, who heads the academic watchdog group Accuracy in Academia, said he was “pleasantly surprised” at McCaskill’s reinstatement, especially considering she was suspended over the gay marriage issue, a hot-button topic on university campuses.
“I’m honestly so surprised she got reinstated,” Kline told LifeSiteNews. “That is so against the trend in academia.” Kline recounted a recent meeting of English professors he attended at which “it seemed like LGBT issues were addressed every hour on the hour.” Even at lectures nominally unrelated to homosexuality, said Kline, “it came up over and over again.”
Kline said most universities are stifled by a lockstep mentality that punishes those who deviate from the liberal line, subjecting faculty and students alike to retribution for actions seen as “conservative,” even outside of the classroom. Of McCaskill, Kline said, “She did this on her own time. I’ve seen this over and over again, where conservative professors who do something remotely conservative on their own time – give a talk, write an article, whatever – face retribution, as opposed to the ones on the other side who just do it openly in the classroom.” He pointed to the case of Jean Cobb, a professor at Virginia State University, a historically black college, who was fired for riding on a Republican float in a local parade.
According to Kline, it’s not just dangerous to express a dissenting opinion on a college campus, it’s also risky not to express the right ones. “I’ve talked to professors who’ve had students say, ‘We know you are a Republican because of what you don’t say,’” said Kline.
This witch-hunt mentality, Kline said, inevitably leads to a chilling effect on academics and intellectual debate. “There have been studies done that [LifeSiteNews] has covered,” he said, “about children raised in homosexual households, showing higher incidences of drug use and other behaviors.” But to even mention such studies on most college campuses is taboo, according to Kline. “They don’t just attack the studies. They attack those who do the studies for even daring to bring it up.”
Asked Kline, “What kind of academic freedom is that?”
As for McCaskill, she says she has received a flood of e-mails from people commenting on her return. Some have been supportive, many others have not.
When asked what she would say to those who oppose her, McCaskill said, “I’ll pray for them.”