Gallaudet University's associate provost for diversity and inclusion, Angela McCaskill -- a 23 year employee, and the first deaf, black woman to earn a doctorate at the school -- has been on paid, administrative leave since Wednesday for allegedly signing a petition to put a same sex marriage referendum on Maryland's ballot November.
Some gay marriage advocates, like Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, are calling for McCaskill to be reinstated
"Everyone has a right to their opinion, and everyone has a right to participate in the political process,” he says.
McCaskill will hold a press conference, with lawyers, in Annapolis Tuesday at 2 p.m. to address her situation. Her attorney says "she is considering all options, and not ruling out taking legal action."
But D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray calls the university's action an "internal matter."
“I think it's an issue that's internal to GU and they should decide what is best there,” he says.
D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh, a constitutional law professor, is also calling for McCaskill to be reinstated, adding that she believes the university's legal argument is a stretch.
"Employees have their own private lives and they're entitled to their own private lives and whatever views about whatever politics they have," Cheh said.
Meanwhile, social conservatives say this is another attack on religious liberty.
“There is a desire to silence those who oppose elements of the homosexual agenda including same sex marriage,” says Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council.
The university says it will hire an interim diversity chief as president Hurwitz determines McCaskill's future.
So far, she has not commented.
On campus, there are many different opinions about the situation. Some students want her reinstated immediately, others say she should be fired.
But the vast majority of students seem conflicted by this controversy, not sure what the university should do next.
“Business and personal decisions need to be kept separate,” says student Travis Zornoza.