I normally don't get into political or social discussions on this blog, but as Belmont University is one of the top music business schools in the US, I think it's an important topic that should be addressed. If you're considering attending Belmont University to further your music business career, you need to be aware of this.
The Tennessee Human Rights Act does not offer protection based on sexual orientation, so if that was the factor in firing her, Belmont University is fine legally. In Tennesseee, the only protection you get when it comes to employment and public accommodation is from discrimination based on race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and age (if you're older than 40).
But is this the kind of school where you can effectively learn about the music business?
I realize that there are three sides to every story, but let's assume for a minute that what the Belmont University soccer team is saying about the issue is correct, the allegations are true, and that Lisa Howe was fired because she's a lesbian. If that's the case, before you attend Belmont University, you should know...
1. Belmont University is isolating gay students.
How can you tell gay students that "it gets better" when you're showing them, by example, that it doesn't.
By firing Lisa Howe, what you're saying is that, even if you're older and supposedly past the "bullying" stage of life, even if you're the most successful person that has ever been in the position you're in, and even if you've got the support of those around you, you can still be kicked to the curb simply because a few people in power don't agree with your decision to love someone of the same gender.
So what's the point of spending $50,000 on a music business degree or working hard to be the best in your field when you're gay? It doesn't matter anyway...
2. Belmont University is isolating non-gay students.
This is 2010. The vast majority of people under 21 don't care if somebody is homosexual. They have more pressing things to worry about, like whether or not the $50,000 they're spending on "higher education" is worthwhile and whether or not they'll be able to get a job when they graduate.
By firing a competent teacher, just because she is lesbian, the administration of Belmont University is holding onto "old" values that no longer work. Furthermore, they're wasting time, money, and energy on something the majority of people don't care about. This should make anybody attending Belmont University (or thinking about attending) question how many other worthless things the administration is holding onto...
3. Belmont University is isolating the music business.
This industry is open. Look at who has top singles right now-- Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Ke$ha, Bruno Mars, Pink... Taylor Swift's Wham! cover is making its annual appearance for the holidays... Gay-friendly? Yes!
And this doesn't begin to include the number of producers, songwriters, and artists who are not just gay-friendly, but also gay. And the number is big...
Do you want to attend a school where this very large segment of the music business is welcomed or one, like Belmont University, that kicks these people to the curb.
4. Belmont University is isolating music consumers.
Who buys the majority of music? The age group that Belmont Univerisity is supposedly trying to serve. And as I've already explained, they have bigger things to worry about than whether or not somebody is gay.
Belmont University needs to get with the program. We're in a business where what is happening RIGHT NOW is the only thing that matters. Do you want to study the music business at a university that gets that or one, like Belmont University, that is decades behind in its understanding of people?
12/8 UPDATE: Mike Curb says, "It's time for Belmont to change."
Post your thoughts below...