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If your job is to promote diversity, signing a petition to get a referendum on overturning Maryland’s gay marriage law on the ballot is bound to be controversial. But that’s exactly what Dr. Angela McCaskill, Gallaudet University’s Chief Diversity Officer, did in July. Now the resulting furor, first reported at Planet Deafqueer, has resulted in McCaskill being put on paid administrative leave today.

“Dr. McCaskill has participated in a legislative initiative that some feel is inappropriate for an individual serving as Chief Diversity Officer,” Gallaudet University President T. Alan Hurwitz said in a statement. “However, other individuals feel differently.”

According to the statement, Hurwitz will use McCaskill’s leave to determine her future at Gallaudet. An interim Chief Diversity Officer is expected to be appointed.

McCaskill didn’t respond to a request for comment. According to her university biography, she was the first black deaf woman to receive a PhD from the school.

Photo by Mr. T. in D.C. used under a Creative Commons license