A Minor Problem
by Daniel Luzer
Ordinarily a college adding a new minor in its sociology department would attract little notice, not only outside the college, but outside even the department.
This time it’s a little different. Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher Ed reports that:
The headline on a blog post last week from the president of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette was labeled simply “New Minor in Sociology.”
But the president, E. Joseph Savoie, was defending the new minor because it has come under attack by some social and political groups in the state, which question the minor because it is in LGBT (for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) studies. The minor is the first in the state, although some tracks in Tulane University’s major in gender and sexuality studies may offer more of an emphasis on LGBT studies. Tulane is a private institution, however, and less vulnerable to political scrutiny.
Louisiana Family Forum, the “voice for traditional families” says the new academic minor “forces Louisiana taxpayers to subsidize advocacy of alternative lifestyles”:
Formerly, aberrant behavior among individuals was regarded with shame. Today, UL Lafayette proudly offers ‘a degree in immorality.’ Louisiana Family Forum is disappointed in this misuse of public and student tuition funds. UL’s advocacy for alternative lifestyles will certainly be met with opposition from taxpayers, tuition underwriters and other key UL supporters.
Minors at the University of Louisiana consist of 18 credit hours (or 6 courses).
There are only two courses required for the minor, “Introduction to LGBT Cultural Studies” and “Gender across Cultures.” The other courses that count toward the LGBT minor include things like “Special Issues in Criminal Justice” and “Introduction to Linguistics,” which are already offered by the university.
So it’s not real clear that the new minor actually forces Louisiana taxpayers pay any more money “to subsidize advocacy of alternative lifestyles” than they did before the college offered the minor.