For background, see my earlier posts:
- Belmont Fires Soccer Coach for Being a Lesbian (Dec 3)
- UPDATE on Belmont U’s Firing of Lesbian Coach (Dec 6)
Most of the following information has come from Tennessee Equality Project’s Facebook page.
Yesterday, the TEP released a statement by Mike Curb on their Facebook page. Mr. Curb is a member of Belmont University’s Board of Trustees and huge donor to the school (for evidence, see here):
As a Trustee for a number of years and presently a Trustee Emeritus, I would like to congratulate the Faculty Senate for backing the right of professors and staff to not be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation. I hope this also means that there can be no discrimination based upon race, religion or sexual orientation. Hopefully, Belmont will offer to re-hire Lisa Howe and hopefully this type of injustice will never happen again.
Belmont’s Curb College is the largest stand alone music business college in the nation and more than half of Belmont’s students study either the music business or music in general. All of us know that there are gay students at Belmont who are also very concerned. When our students enter the workforce, they will be entering an industry where gay people have made incredible contributions.
Belmont and the Curb Event Center (where Lisa Howe worked) have become recognized nationally because of the presidential debate with President Obama and Senator McCain and other major entertainment concerts, sports events and forums held at the Curb Event Center. If we leave an issue like this unresolved, I would strongly doubt that we would ever have an opportunity to compete for major entertainment opportunities at the Event Center in the future.
Even though it’s been reported that the Board has backed this, I can tell you that no one from Belmont or the Board has contacted me regarding this issue. I will do everything I can to try to get the Board of Trustees to reconsider their position based on the fact that this is a basic civil rights issue.
Sincerely, Mike Curb
Huzzah, Mike Curb!
Now Sports Illustrated’s website has released their own opinion of Howe’s firing. Let’s just say that the author of the article, Jeff Pearlman, has no love for Belmont U’s administration:
Until late last week, when she was let go from her position, Howe was one of the most respected figures on campus. In six seasons at the school, she guided a once-floundering program to a 52-48-16 mark, including an appearance in the 2008 NCAA tournament, a school-first. Howe was, without question, a dogged worker, a keen soccer mind, a beloved mentor, a positive influence. […]
Here’s the good news: In the traditionally conservative, Bible Belt city of Nashville, people are livid. As men like Bob Fisher, the university president, and Mike Strickland, the athletic director, speak only in limp press releases (neither Fisher not Strickland returned calls from SI.com), Belmont’s students are demanding accountability. Led by the gritty reporting of sports editor Pierce Greenberg, the Belmont Vision, the school’s student newspaper, has been hammering the story with unrelenting vigor. On Sunday, meanwhile, some 40 students braved snow and fierce cold to hold a protest outside the campus. “For us,” Becca Stone, a Belmont senior, told the Vision, “firing Coach Howe because of her sexuality was not the Christian thing to do.”
I think that one of the most interesting and promising things that has come out of this entire thing is this argument that Christianity is inclusive and supportive. Belmont students, faculty, and alum are using their religion not to hate on Howe’s sexuality (like the administration has done) but instead to say that love and acceptance are always the best way to practice Christianity. It is a refreshing change from the “God hates gays” that is more common when Christianity intersects with gay Americans.
If you want to let the administration at Belmont know that you don’t like way that Coach Howe has been treated and you find her firing unjust, contact them here:
- Athletic Director Mike Strickland: email@example.com
- Associate Director of Compliance John Langdon: firstname.lastname@example.org
- President Robert Fisher: email@example.com
- Current students should e-mail the provost, too: firstname.lastname@example.org