Messages and Press Releases
The following statement can be attributed to Gallaudet University President T. Alan Hurwitz.
Since placing Gallaudet University's Chief Diversity Officer on paid administrative leave, Gallaudet University has been called upon by several external organizations to immediately reinstate Dr. Angela McCaskill in her position as Chief Diversity Officer. We recently became aware that several of those external organizations plan to hold demonstrations at Gallaudet University starting this week.
As much as I understand the views that some outside organizations have about the immediate return of our Chief Diversity Officer to campus, at the same time we need to move forward at a rate appropriate for our entire community.
I'd like to reiterate that 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. I will continue to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that this campus remains a safe environment for our entire campus community.
The university administration has been conducting very productive meetings with student organizations including groups that represent students of color, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, as well as faculty and staff leadership. The university's Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board is also developing strategies for moving the community forward.
I would like to commend our students—as well as our faculty and staff —who have shown remarkable maturity and restraint under the complexities of the situation. I know our community will extend the same measure of civility and respect we have shown each other to those outside the campus community who choose to express their concerns and perspectives.
The following statement was released by Gallaudet University President T. Alan Hurwitz on Tuesday, October 16, 2012.
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.
Email sent to the campus community from President T. Alan Hurwitz on Wednesday, October 10:
Dear Campus Community,
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.