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McCaskill returns to Gallaudet after suspension over petition dispute

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After a three-month suspension, Gallaudet University’s chief diversity officer is back on the job and on Tuesday, Angela McCaskill spoke exclusively with NewsChannel's Mike Conneen. 

McCaskill says she felt welcomed and embraced when she returned to campus Monday and she does not feel nervous about being back.

“When I first arrived and I actually stepped foot on campus I felt like I was back home,” she says. “I mean, I grew up at Gallaudet University.”

In October, Gallaudet suspended her after learning she had signed a petition to put same-sex marriage on the ballot in Maryland. McCaskill says she’s not anti-gay, but the controversy split the campus community and led to protests and national headlines.

“I’m here back at the university and thrilled to be back here,” she says. “I know there are many challenges ahead for me and I look forward to working with the faculty, staff and students here as we move forward to make Gallaudet a more inclusive university and the area of higher education that shows respect for different points of view.”

In a statement announcing McCaskill’s return this week, the university president thanked the student body.

President Hurwitz said, in part:

"...During the past three months a large number of you have taken the initiative to communicate with me. I have also had the opportunity of attending discussions with students and with others. This has been a period of reflection for all of us. I am deeply appreciative of the time you have taken to communicate your views, of the clearly heartfelt manner in which you have expressed those thoughts, and of the overall maturity you have shown in your willingness to consider the differing views others may hold..."

But university officials won’t comment further about why they decided to reinstate McCaskill, calling it a personnel matter.

Although McCaskill has returned to campus, her attorney says he’s still working with the university to address unresolved legal and financial matters. He says her reputation has been damaged.

“I think Dr. McCaskill is entitled to some restoration of her reputation and I think the university has not come to full grips with that and we want to be a little more persuasive with them and having them to understand that harm has done to Dr. McCaskill has been damaged as a result of this,” says J. Wyndal Gordon.

After news broke this week of her reinstatement, McCaskill says her inbox is filled with emails – many supportive, but some were not.

When asked if she had a message for those who don’t understand her return or did not support her in the past, she says, "I'll pray for them."

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