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LGBT studies program stirs controversy at University of Louisiana

Friday, July 13, 2012
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LAFAYETTE, La. — A new minor at the University of Louisiana Lafayette is stirring up controversy and has some calling for the university to remove the program from its curriculum.

The University became the first in the state to offer an LGBT studies minor last spring. According to the website for the minor, it offers students with a chance at broad interdisciplinary study. In order for students to successfully complete the minor, they must complete 18 credit hours in LGBT studies.

However, U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry (R-La.) does not agree with the schools implementation of the program.

Landry, an alumnus of ULL, said the minor limits employment opportunities and offers little economic benefit for taxpayers — he requested the university remove the minor from its curriculum.

“I was extremely disappointed to learn of the new LGBT studies program at ULL,” he said in a statement. “I respectfully request the university reverse its decision and drop this academic program.”

His statement was met with support from the Louisiana Family Forum — a group dedicated to “upholding traditional values” — who also called for the programs removal. A statement uploaded on to their website called the program a “degree in immorality,” and the group questioned the use of taxpayer dollars to fund the minor.

“The University’s web page for the new LGBT minor clearly omits facts and statistics which demonstrate the medical, physical, emotional and dangers of a lifestyle which is counter to Louisiana values,” the statement read. “Louisiana Family Forum is disappointed in this misuse of public and student tuition funds.”

Joseph Savoie, ULL President, released a statement on his blog defending the program and correcting false information. Savoie said that the implementation of the minor did not need additional funding and explained that the program is as minor, not a major — as some reports stated.

Savoie also reiterated the fact that programs across many different areas allow students to be better prepared and better off in the job market. He warned that personal beliefs should not limit education.

“Regardless of our personal beliefs, as an academic institution, the university is obligated and committed to, within the law, the discovery and dissemination of knowledge,” he said.

“Our responsibility is to provide in an impartial manner, an opportunity for investigation, analysis and understanding.”

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