1) Angela McCaskill, the suspended Gallaudet University Diversity Officer at the heart of this story, is being used in an anti-same-sex marriage TV ad. According to CBS news, “McCaskill’s attorney says his client would like the ad to stop running,” but the Maryland Marriage Alliance intends to keep using it. Stay classy, MMA.
2) You could write one heck of a mistaken-identity farce set outside the gates of Gallaudet today, where two different groups — one pro-SSM, one anti-SSM — held competing protests. Interestingly, both protests were calling for McCaskill’s reinstatement.
Did either group bother to include Gallaudet students, or even any Deaf people, in planning their protests? If so, it hasn’t gone reported. In the ABC news video, at 1:04, and again at 1:20, there is a brief shot of Gallaudet students watching as a man in a suit signs to them. Did the protestors wisely bring an ASL interpreter to translate their protest? Or is the ASL speaker someone from the Gallaudet community commenting on the protestors? I can’t tell.
I suspect both protest groups are see this story in terms of how it affects Maryland’s anti-equality ballot measure on November 6. But the more important question is, how will this affect Gallaudet’s students? Is that a question either group protesting has seriously considered?
I still think Ms McCaskill should be reinstated. From the accounts I’ve read, she was an effective advocate for LGBTQ students in the past, and I hope she can mend fences and be effective again. But if she can’t do that, put her in some other job.
3) At Huffington Post, Josh Swiller focuses on the exclusion of Gallaudet students’ views from the coverage of the story:
Eager to score political points, the politicians, advocacy groups and national media miss the student position and the heart of the matter. Not one of them has asked what the Gallaudet students feel and desire. So let’s ask: Why do Gallaudet’s students resist the idea of immediately returning Dr. McCaskill to her previous position?
First, understand that respect for diversity affects them on the deepest personal levels. They are all minority students, part of the seldom-seen, seldom-heard deaf minority. It can be incredibly difficult to find common ground and understanding between deaf and hearing people, more so than between races and sexual orientations. For deaf students diversity is not a politically correct buzzword. The support of diversity programs and laws are some of the most powerful tools Gallaudet students have in their quests to have satisfying lives rich in opportunity.
Dr. McCaskill’s actions affected them deeply. […]
It has been disturbing to watch politicians and special interest groups run roughshod over the university’s internal dialogue. The vehemence and energy of those opposing Gallaudet (now they plan in-person protests) and their refusal to even consider the student position reinforces to those students that their opinions and emotions are disregarded.
Although I think Swiller’s post makes good points, I also want to point out that in comments, someone identifying themselves as a Gallaudet employee objected to the way Swiller seems to treat Gallaudet as possessing a “hive mind”:
It’s not a Hive Mind. There’s no such thing a a Deaf Community–or ANY community–that responds as one thing, that thinks as one. To assume otherwise is simply stereotyping and prejudice.
But Mr. Swiller is right that it’s shameful these protesting groups see an opportunity to score political points and now run roughshod over how anyone else might feel.