Gallaudet University wants diversity officer who signed anti-gay marriage petition back on job

Angela McCaskill, chief diversity officer at Gallaudet University, using sign language and speaking through an interpreter, addresses a news conference on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012 in Annapolis, Md., about being put on leave from her job after signing a petition to put Maryland’s same-sex marriage law on the ballot for voters to decide. She is asking to be reinstated to her position. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

Angela McCaskill, chief diversity officer at Gallaudet University, using sign language and speaking through an interpreter, addresses a news conference on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012 in Annapolis, Md., about being put on leave from her job after signing a petition to put Maryland’s same-sex marriage law on the ballot for voters to decide. She is asking to be reinstated to her position. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

Gallaudet University has announced that it would like its chief diversity officer to return to her post after she was put on leave for signing a petition to reverse Maryland’s same-sex marriage law, according to NBC News.

Dr. Angela McCaskill was first asked to go on leave after a faculty member noticed her name on the petition. McCaskill had signed it at church following her preacher’s sermon against gay marriage.

During a press conference Tuesday, McCaskill, who is deaf, told reporters through sign language that she would like to return to her position. She also criticized the university for its actions.

“I am dismayed that Gallaudet University is still a university of intolerance, a university that manages by intimidation, a university that allows bullying among faculty staff and students,” she said. “No one has the right to decide what my signature meant.”

University President T. Alan Hurwitz said putting McCaskill on leave was a “prudent action” meant to give her and the university “time to consider this question after the emotions of first reactions subsided.”

“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,” he said in a statement. “They wanted to know ‘does that action interfere with her ability to perform her job?’”

He indicated that the university wants to work with McCaskill so she can return to her job.

“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,” Hurwitz added.

McCaskill’s attorney, J. Wyndal Gordon, told NBC News his client isn’t anti-gay. He said she signed the petition in support of having the matter decided at the ballot box and allowing voters to become more informed on the issue.

Maryland residents will be able to vote on November 6th about whether or not to keep the state law approving same-sex marriage.

Follow Ugonna on Twitter at @ugonnaokpalaoka