In a world where minorities are marginalized, it’s almost amazing that a Black, Deaf, woman could ever advance in society. Against all odds, Angela McCaskill became the first Deaf Black Woman to earn a pHd from Gallaudet University. Not only that, but she was appointed the prestigious position of Chief Diversity Officer for Gallaudet University. By all accounts, it appears that Dr. McCaskill has been nothing but professional in her role promoting diversity on Washington, DC campus.
Meanwhile, the state of Maryland has passed a law that will allow same-sex marriage beginning in 2013. However, Marylanders have the opportunity to revoke the law in November’s elections. The state of Maryland’s laws have no bearing on residents of Washington, DC, but Dr. McCaskill signed a petition against the legalization of gay marriage in Maryland.
It is at this point that the Gallaudet-Diversity situation has taken on national attention.
As an American, Dr. McCaskill has every right to hold her own beliefs and express her personal opinion on a variety of issues. As long as her personal opinions are not in conflict of her University responsibilities nor affect her ability to promote diversity as according to her job responsibilities, she deserves her role with the University.
However, on Tuesday of this week, Dr. McCaskill was placed on administrative leave because she signed a petition of the Maryland law. Of course this raises many questions:
1. Can Dr. McCaskill objectively serve her role as Chief Diversity Officer?
2. Does Dr. McCaskill’s free speech rights allow her to take a personal stand for anything she personally believes?
3. Does Dr. McCaskill’s actions (signing a petition) compromise her ability to lead?
I for one would argue that she has the freedom to believe and act according to her personal beliefs and that should not affect her job. I understand the concern of the opposition that perhaps Dr. McCaskill isn’t fully unbiased, but if she has no disciplinary actions against her concerning equality, then I don’t think it should have any bearing on her job and responsibilities.
I respectfully acknowledge the views of Planet Queer and others who want her personal beliefs to align with her personal responsibilities, however, I’d argue that her personal vs. professional opinions do not necessarily need to be aligned for effective job performance.
So I say, personally, “Lay off Dr, McCaskill. She can personally take on issues interdependent of her professional responsibilities at the University of Gallaudet’.