U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, R-City on a Hill, is nothing if not persistent. He also possesses a myopic view of the role of higher education. So there’s that.

                                                                             Photo Illustration (obviously)
landry_spartan
Rep. Landry’s leather codpiece shields his package
from university elitism. He brooks neither namby nor
pamby.

Landry’s ongoing pandering to the nabobs of intolerance whose satin boxers have become uncomfortably wedged within the cleft betwixt their pink, flabby hindquarters over UL Lafayette’s LGBT Studies minor continues unabated. What’s a salt-of-the-earth teacup poodle staring at an ignominious end to his brief tenure in Congress to do? Keep the pressure on UL President Joe Savoie to put the kibosh on a program that is merely an aggregation of already-offered courses at the university, one that costs UL and the taxpaying public not a red cent to offer. And hope someone notices. That’s why he posted a letter exchange between himself and Savoie (reproduced below) on his congressional website. More than anything the letters demonstrate that our mild-mannered university prez is both standing his ground and treading the high road.

A little more than a week after Landry's mid-July letter to Savoie urging him to discontinue the LGBT Studies minor, Savoie penned a response. Savoie’s July 27 explanation for leaving the program intact is twofold.

Savoie’s first defense — that doing so could threaten UL’s accreditation and make students ineligible for federal student loans because the university’s administration and faculty followed procedure in establishing the minor — is solid, and he lays it out concisely. But it’s less important than the second defense, which counters a central notion in Landry’s short-sighted worldview: a university’s role in a community isn’t that of a vocational school:

Certainly proper preparation of our students for the current and projected job market is a responsibility and a priority of the university. But we are living in a world where nine-to-five jobs are declining, careers over a lifetime with one company are uncommon, and economic risk has shifted from large institutions to individuals. Our students will know and must be prepared for a world that is much more unstable and fluid than the one of just a generation ago.

That is why we strive to create a learning environment that produces not only a highly skilled, but also a broadly educated, self-motivated graduate, with a passion for life-long learning, aware of their civic obligations and ethically responsible in their careers.

Bravo, Dr. Savoie! What could the congressman possible not understand in all this? Well, all of it. Yesterday, Aug. 23, Landry responded.

“The future of our students and their economic prospects should be our top priority, not placating to political pressures,” Landry writes, in part. “Diverting your limited resources to advance a political agenda at the expense of our students is unacceptable.” And blah, blah, blah. And yada yada.

This is also epic hypocrisy on the part of Landry, a Tea Party patriot who rails against federal meddling in local affairs. The congressman is evidently fine with the federal government meddling in UL’s affairs now that he’s the federal government.

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