Target: University of Louisiana-Lafayette President Joseph Savoie
Goal: Show support for LGBT Studies minor currently under attack by conservative groups.
It wasn’t long before the recently adopted LGBT Studies minor at University of Louisiana-Lafayette was criticized. Two weeks after being instituted, the Louisiana Family Forum cited the minor program as not being academics-oriented or reflecting Louisiana’s values. Congressman Jeff Landry also spoke up on his opinion that the minor would not be relevant to the workplace and “does not assist [students] toward” finding a job, so is not in the interest of being included at a tax-supported public university.
The university’s president, Dr. Joseph Savoie, has responded that the university came to its decision to include the course of study based on demand from students and faculty, and also noted that there would be no special funding required to institute the minor, pulling the curriculum from already existing courses. The university could lose accreditation by caving to political pressure to guide decisions on any course of study. Charles Joughin of the Human Rights Campaign has backed up Savoie and the university by stating, “Educating students on the lives and history of LGBT people is anything but political. Congressman Landry may refuse to acknowledge the existence and struggle of our community, but that’s no reason to deny others who wish to learn a chance to do so.”
Counter to Congressman Landry’s claims, being educated about a minority group such as the LGBT community can help people secure jobs in social work, psychology, education–any industry those students would be working with members of that community. Dr. Savoie and the university should be applauded for keeping this minor program and not bowing to misguided political pressure.
Dear Dr. Savoie,
I support you and the University of Louisiana’s decision to include an LGBT minor studies offer for students. Being well-versed on the history of LGBT issues can help add greater understanding to the society we live in to any student and is especially relevant to students looking for careers in social work, psychology, education or any community building industries.
I want to applaud your response to the pressure from the Louisiana Family Forum and Congressman Jeff Landry to revoke the minor program. It shows a respect for the LGBT community and for your campus to make strong statements supporting a field many might see as illegitimate. Please know I support your decision and hope the program remains and thrives at your university.
[Your Name Here]
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