Target: University of Louisiana Lafayette (UL Lafayette) President Dr. Joseph Savoie
Goal: Support action of standing up for the continued existence of a minor in LGBTQ studies at UL Lafayette despite opposition from Louisiana Congressman Jeff Landry
Last spring, UL Lafayette became the first university in the nation to create a minor in LGBTQ studies. Since then, Louisiana Congressman Jeff Landry has been attempting to remove the minor because it does little to prepare students for holding jobs. So far, the President of UL Lafayette has paid these calls no mind, and remains supportive of the minor’s continued existence. In a letter to Congressman Landry sent shortly after Landry first called for the minor to be removed, President Savoie insisted that, beyond preparing students for the working world, the purpose of a University was to educate students just for the sake of learning and to produce new knowledge, functions he insisted are critical in a free society.
Landry’s objection to the LGBTQ minor ostensibly comes from the fact that it dips into funds meant to accomodate 15,000 students, but appeals to only a select group of people. However, this reasoning assumes that the study of LGBTQ issues is “niche”: in Landry’s most recent letter to Savoie, he asserted that the minor serves only five students. However, the minor is too new (only a few months old) for it to be clear how many students will take interest in it, and five seems a grossly disproportionate number for a school of 15,000. Moreover, the LGBTQ minor does not even have its own department to siphon funds into: students complete the minor by taking 18 credit hours worth of relevant classes in other departments.
Thank UL President Dr. Joseph Savoie for helping to not only bring this pioneering minor to life but also keep it alive in the face of bigotry and controversy.
Dear UL Lafayette President Dr. Joseph Savoie,
I am writing to thank you for your continued support of the LGBTQ studies minor at UL Lafayette, the first of its kind in the nation. Helping students understand the historical and present struggles faced by the LGBTQ community is an important step in creating a future where these struggles will no longer be so difficult to overcome. Your bravery in helping institute the minor in a mostly conservative state such as Louisiana is to be applauded. Moreover, I would like to thank you for how you have handled criticisms and controversy surrounding the minor: your diligence in insisting on learning for learning’s sake, rather than giving in to Congressman Jeff Landry’s claims about the minor being unhelpful in preparing students for the working world, is appreciated.
Thank you for your support of learning and equality, even in the face of criticism and controversy. I applaud your actions and hope that your commitment to this cause will not fade.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Flickr via Daniel Weber