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Gallaudet reinstates administrator who signed petition supporting same-sex marriage vote

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Gallaudet University has reinstated the administrator who was suspended last year after she signed a petition calling for a referendum on same-sex marriage legislation in Maryland.

The suspension in October of Angela McCaskill, the chief diversity officer at the federally chartered university for the deaf and hard of hearing, provoked a wave of controversy. An online petition supporting her quickly drew thousands of signatures.

Her reinstatement was announced Monday in an e-mail to students, staff and faculty from university President T. Alan Hurwitz. “I personally look forward to working with Dr. McCaskill,” he said.

Hurwitz’s announcement said that many members of the school community had reached out to him in a “clearly heartfelt manner.” Recent weeks were “a period of reflection for all of us,” he said.

He also praised the “overall maturity” shown in the community’s willingness to consider the “differing views others may hold.”

Hurwitz said in October that he placed McCaskill on paid administrative leave because she had “participated in a legislative initiative that some feel is inappropriate for an individual serving as chief diversity officer.”

A campus spokeswoman said McCaskill returned on Monday. She could not be immediately reached. Classes resume Jan. 22 after the semester break. Gallaudet was established in 1864; Abraham Lincoln signed its charter.

McCaskill was among more than 200,000 Maryland residents who signed the petition for a vote on the marriage measure. Passed by the legislature, the measure was approved at the polls.

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