Tuesday, 24 July 2012 11:05
by The Independent Editors
Tech grad students take on Landry
[Editor’s Note: The following is an open letter from a group of Louisiana Tech doctoral students and instructors to U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry in response to the latter’s opposition to the LGBT studies minor program offered at UL Lafayette.]
Recently the University of Louisiana at Lafayette announced that they would begin offering a minor in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender studies. Unfortunately, what should be an occasion to celebrate the increasing inclusiveness in academics has been marred by the comments of Louisiana Congressman Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia. Congressman Landry believes the minor should be removed because “it fails to provide an economic benefit to the participants or financial sense for the taxpayer,” and further “Budgetary shortfalls have left higher education severely underfunded. As such, we must effectively allocate these scare [sic] resources and give priority to those course [sic] and minors that provide demonstrable employment benefits.”
We find his statement unsupported by the evidence. Even more troubling, it sends a message of intolerance to the community.
Despite Congressmen Landry’s assertion, there are economic benefits to having an LGBT minor. First, as noted by ULL President Savoie, “The development of this new minor did not require budgetary allocations or divert resources from other areas as it allows students to choose from a list of nearly 100 existing courses across several disciplines.” Therefore, it appears that the LGBT minor will not have a negative impact on state resources. Moreover, it appears that such a minor can help prepare students to work in a business climate that is becoming increasingly open to the LGBT community. For example, marketing research indicates that LGBT tourism within the United States was worth 65 million dollars in 2010. Similar research found that New Orleans was one of the top 10 destinations for LGBT business and tourism, providing millions of dollars of revenue for both the city and the state. Research also indicates that prejudices against this group costs businesses millions of dollars each year in lost revenue and productivity.
Singling out this minor among the numerous available at ULL that focus on minority issues (i.e. African American, Cajun-Creole, and Latin American, etc.) can be interpreted as discriminatory. Congressman Landry speaks for all of the constituents of his district, including the LGBT community, and should be aware of the damaging effects of prejudice and discrimination toward this group.
Research suggests that the social stigma and oppression of this group contributes to higher rates of depression, substance abuse and suicidal ideation, among other mental health issues. As a state representative, it is irresponsible to suggest that acquired knowledge in this area is not beneficial. History demonstrates that the driving force of prejudice is naiveté and a lack of exposure to groups different than one’s own. The best defense against this is education. Clearly, an understanding of the different groups that make up and contribute greatly to the state of Louisiana, and to our nation as a whole, has value above and beyond just economics.
We commend ULL for braving the criticism they have faced in order to offer their students the opportunity to be educated about the LGBT community. We hope that other universities in Louisiana follow their lead in realizing the value of learning about this diverse group and begin to offer similar programs.
Jay Middleton Louisiana Tech University Counseling Psychology Doctoral Student
Deborah P. Simpson, M.A. Louisiana Tech University Counseling Psychology Doctoral Student
Jennifer L. Thibodeaux, M.A. Louisiana Tech University Counseling Psychology Doctoral Student
Rose Niles Louisiana Tech University Counseling Psychology Doctoral Student
Rebecca Cox, M.S.Ed. Louisiana Tech University Counseling Psychology Doctoral Student
Charmaine Mosier, M.S. Louisiana Tech University Counseling Psychology Doctoral Student
Jackie Ball, M.S. Louisiana Tech University Counseling Psychology Doctoral Student
Lauren Tressler, M.S. Louisiana Tech University Counseling Psychology Doctoral Student
Laura Harris, SSP, NCSP Louisiana Tech University Counseling Psychology Doctoral Student
Alicia Ford, Ph.D. Louisiana Tech University
Donna Thomas, Ph.D. Louisiana Tech University
To post a comment, please log into your IND account. If you do not have an account, click the "register" button to create one. Facebook comments can be used as an alternative to creating an account at theIND.com.
SEP 30 Here's another story that makes Louisiana look backward; blogger Manny Schewitz writes about a church that won't allow AA to use its facilities because those boozers might track in some gay. Every time he sees one of these, as he calls them "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" type of stories, he always starts wishing: "Please don't let it be Louisiana... Please don't let it be Louisiana..."
SEP 30 Blogger Bob Mann is asking a question that a lot of intelligent people have been asking for several years now - "How gullible does Bobby Jindal think we are?" In this post, Mann is taking a look at the Jindal administration's "smarmy, shameless reliance on our ignorance."
SEP 30 Ever wonder what goes on in a football locker room following a game like Sunday's embarrassment? Here's a post on ESPN about the "reality check" the Saints had. Among the comments: "Right now we're not a very good football team."
SEP 30 Just for fun, here's the Advocate's "Mike and Me" gallery, featuring submitted photos from readers who have taken pictures with LSU's mascot, Mike the Tiger. When the promotion started, the paper expected pictures with the big cat who lives outside the stadium, and they got those, but they also got pictures with the "human" version, and the big statue of Mike.
SEP 30 Anybody who has attended LSU since the late 1980s is pretty familiar with Highland Coffees. It's a cool little (non-chain) coffee shop near the north gates of the university. The recent announcement that it would be moving because the shop can't "come to terms" with its landlord has caused horror and anguish among LSU students and alums. This post on the Red Shtick pokes fun at the landlord who might have other plans for the spot. (The story includes links to a "real" post on Baton Rouge Business Report).
SEP 30 Bobby Jindal probably has a shiny idea of what his legacy will be, and it's a sure bet it doesn't match up with what columnist Clancy DuBos says in this post on Gambit, to wit: "Jindal will be remembered as the governor who lacked the guts and integrity to do what's right." Man, DuBos, don't hold back -- tell us how you really feel.
SEP 30 It's a good thing we got all that BP money to spend on tourism advertising, because plenty will be required to convince people that we aren't a bunch of gun-toting lunatics down here in the swamp. This post on TIME magazine can't help: it's about a Port Allen restaurateur who offers a discount to anybody with a gun. (Anybody? Hmmm.)
SEP 30 This post on PoliticusUSA, an extremely liberal blog, takes aim at Bobby Jindal's disingenuous attempts to play both sides against the middle on the evolution/creationism issue. Jindal is "dutifully serving his Koch masters" on the climate change issue as well, blogger Rmuse writes.
SEP 29 Here's another national media story on Edwin W. Edwards, this one from National Public Radio - despite the fact that, he says, "people who listen to public radio don't vote for candidates like me." His story, with the young lovely wife, new baby, political backstory and criminal history, seems to be irresistible to the media, especially after they've met him and experienced the full force of the Edwards charm.
SEP 29 Here's more speculation on what's next in the Bruce Greenstein situation from the fourth estate. James Gill calls it "the Greenstein problem." What's the problem? If Greenstein lied about the process of awarding a huge contract to his former employer during an investigation, as is alleged in his indictiment, what's the truth? And who else was involved?
SEP 29 To be fair, this story was posted on Business Insider before Sunday's game (and the wailing and gnashing of teeth that followed it). It's about a study that looked at the communities in which NFL teams are based, and what kind of support those teams have there. No team has stronger community support than the Saints, the study found. (But again, that was before Sunday.)
Read the Flipping Paper!
Click Here for the Entire Print Version of IND Monthly