Louisiana Congressman Is Pressuring University to Drop Its LGBT Studies Minor Because Students Need Jobs

A Republican congressman from Louisiana named Jeff Landry is trying to claw his way back into office, and, in order to prove to constituents that he's serious about serious issues (like jobs and such), he's pushing the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to forsake its LGBT studies minor because, according to Landry, LGBT studies doesn't help college kids get ready for the job market. See, you guys? Republicans do too have a plan for economic prosperity and it involves eliminating all the useless liberal arts college courses so that there are enough engineers around to help Mitt Romney build his Death Star.

Landry, according New Orleans' Times-Picayune, is in a brutal Cro Magnon re-election struggle with fellow Republican incumbent Charles Boustany. To prove that he is the social conservative par excellence, he is targeting ULL's LGBT studies minor, which attracts a pretty small number of students and, notably, doesn't cost the university anything to include among other course offerings. Landry has said that the LGBT minor "does not assist" students towards the goal of one day entering the workforce, so, obviously it must be dispensed with because doing so would impress the Louisiana Family Forum, a group of rabid social conservatives that could be instrumental in helping Landry secure his House seat.

University President Joseph Savoie, however, has so far resisted Landry's attempt to meddle with ULL's academic integrity, contending that the school would jeopardize its accreditation by capitulating to complaints from politicians such as Rep. Landry and Sen. David Vitter (R-La), who achieved national fame for his purported diaper fetish. Hooray for family values!

Savoie has argued that LGBT studies, like a lot of other liberal arts disciplines (I'm looking at you, art history), helps broaden students' perspectives, and that courses shouldn't be dispensed with simply because one myopic Republican congressman is trying to score some cheap reelection points:

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.

The Louisiana Family Forum has been decrying the LGBT studies minor for a while now, and said in a recent statement that the program's website "omits facts and statistics, which demonstrate the medical, physical, emotional and dangers of a lifestyle, which is counter to Louisiana values." In other words, the Family Forum doesn't approve of the gays, so no one can learn about them. Of course, if Landry was serious about ensuring that undergrads at ULL made far-sighted choices about their curriculum, he'd strip the school of all the majors and minors that are regarded by so many higher education critics as socially superfluous. I mean, do we really need any more English majors? Do people need to learn ancient languages? Would the world really miss a few hundred budding sociologists? Landry's effort to deprive ULL of LGBT studies isn't an effort to make sure that students graduate with more employable CVs — he just wants two more years of Washington dinners, and he's picking on the LGBT minors at ULL as if he were a high school bully trying to prove to everyone watching him hulk down the hallway that his penis isn't actually the size of a golf pencil, metaphorically speaking, of course.

Jeff Lnadry presses university to drop lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender courses [Times-Pic]