Guestblog: Marsha Graham on the Gallaudet Controversy

By Marsha Graham

This is not a civil liberties issue. This is an employment law issue.

McCaskell’s sin is one of rank stupidity. She is a non-tenured individual working for Gallaudet as the Chief Diversity Officer – not a secretary, not a janitor, not even a diversity underling. She speaks for Gallaudet in matters of diversity.

Gallaudet University

Gallaudet University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At Gallaudet the students are Deaf and discriminated against for their deafness. There are Gay Deaf students there, and the head of the Diversity Program has just made a statement against the LBGT community through signing this petition. She was an idiot if she thinks that won’t come back to bite her in the butt.

Further, the students of Gallaudet do not want her back. Remember, I belong to a Deaf and HoH attorney’s association, and many of them went to Gallaudet and know the parties and the students. Why on Earth would any student who suffers daily discrimination based on hearing loss, want a diversity officer who does not believe in diversity? Or even seems to oppose diversity?

My take: She did not want her job at Gallaudet enough to keep her mouth shut and her fingers off discriminatory petitions. I worked for the state  – and my Dad for the feds, and we kept our heads down and our mouths shut because we liked our paychecks. When you represent your organization in the world, you don’t put it on the front page through your behavior. Anyone who is a diversity officer, who opposes diversity should do the same or find a new job. Surely one of the anti-gay organizations will hire her as a mascot now.

Edward Miner Gallaudet at his desk, presumably...

Edward Miner Gallaudet at his desk, presumably in College Hall, as President of Gallaudet College (later Gallaudet University). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ms. McCaskell is in an employee-at-will jurisdiction where and individual can be let go for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason – just not an illegal reason. She has embarrassed her employer and alienated the students. No one will trust her. She has fouled her own nest, so to speak.

By the way, I find many Deaf folks (not all, but many) rather conservative by nature. Most blind folks are similarly conservative by nature. So branding this a liberal assault is both wrong and back in the rank stupidity category, in my opinion. It is a response to an individual who made it impossible for her to represent her employer and the students of Gallaudet.

You want your job? You’re highly visible? Keep your head down and keep out of trouble. If you get yourself in highly visible trouble, you fall on your sword and protect the employer.

The President's House (also known as the Edwar...

The President’s House (also known as the Edward Miner Gallaudet Residence or House One) located on the campus of Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. The 20-room Victorian Gothic mansion was designed by Vaux, Withers, & Co. in 1867. The original owner of the home was Edward Miner Gallaudet, founder and first president of the school. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a contributing property to the Gallaudet College Historic District, a National Historic Landmark. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marsha Graham is the driving force behind several blogs, among them AnotherBoomerBlog. She is a good friend to and we would be lost without her support. When she’s not blogging, she’s a committed activist and attorney.

I breathe, drive, take photographs, and write – not necessarily in that order.

9 Responses



    Date: October 16, 2012

    From: The Office of Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board, a diverse group of volunteers representing undergraduate and graduate students, staff and faculty, administrators, community stakeholders, and diversity consultants.

    Gallaudet University is a diverse community committed to the pursuit of academic excellence. We continue to work towards the goal of all groups being treated with compassion and civility while promoting inclusion, multiculturalism and social justice. We further acknowledge that in order to achieve these goals in practice, we must simultaneously build an environment that embraces and promotes the diversity of people and ideas.

    The Office of Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board is saddened that recent events have left many of us angry, confused, and saddened. It is our opinion that now is an opportunity for a true “teachable moment” – a time for all of us, students, staff, faculty, administrators and supporters of Gallaudet University to come together in the spirit of cooperation and compassion in order to explore the differences that are seeking to divide us, and to find that which can heal the rifts and bring us closer together.

    Accordingly, we are reaching out to Dr. McCaskill, a valued member of our Community, and to the Gallaudet community as a whole, to use these events as an opportunity to grow, to learn through discussion, and to acknowledge the biases, prejudices and the “isms” that are within each of us.

    Rather than blaming or attacking one another, let us build a stronger commitment to our core values of compassion, civility, inclusion and social justice. We see outreach and dialogue as essential next steps in the process of rebuilding and strengthening the bonds of trust in our Community.”

    This link talks about her considering a lawsuit (sense of entitlement issues, IMO) and the school’s intent to bring her back to work. We’ll see how that goes.

  2. Thanks, Marsha for the excellent guest blog and for this comment. Either way, I hope Gallaudet can get this whole thing worked out. Now, to assuage my class bitterness, I’d like to point out that she got paid administrative leave. Any job I’ve ever been fired from, all I got was a security escort to the parking lot.

  3. If I were President of Galluadet University, I would Fire Angela McCaskill because she is Cheif Diversity Officer(CDO) conflict signing Anti-Equality Marriage for same sex for Gay and lesbian. Since CDO supposed to support this Equality Marriage for same sex, She cannot use this as conflict if she does not support Equality Marriage for Same sex, she should have not take this job as CDO in the first place as she should have resigned, but she didnt. Therefore, She should be Fired and does not belong Gallaudet Diversity after this occurs. I dont think Angela McCaskill should be back to Gallaudet after all she works in Gally for 25 years and in five minute she lost her postition as CDO and being fire as zero Tolerance in Gallaudet Unvirsity period. I know her but I did not expect her to oppose Equality Marriage for Same sex and I am seeing conflict with her job position as Chief Diversity Officer. She knew better not to sign at all, but she does have the rights to oppose but her position considering Conflict of Interest. Does that tell you something, doesnt it?

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