A Belmont University administration official said Tuesday that the school supports the right of its faculty senate “to craft and advance” a resolution affirming gay and lesbian members of the university community.
But interim provost Pat Raines did not say whether Belmont president Bob Fisher or the board of trustees would soon meet with the faculty senate to specifically address concerns stemming from the recent departure of women’s soccer coach Lisa Howe, who was dismissed after revealing to players that she and her same-sex partner are planning to have a child.
“As part of its role, the faculty senate reviews and provides input on policies and procedures that impact academic matters, general education and the welfare of the faculty,” Raines said in a statement to The City Paper. “We appreciate the leadership they provide and their commitment to the Belmont mission.”
Members of the faculty senate could not be reached for comment.
Raines’ statement follows Monday afternoon’s faculty senate meeting, during which the body unanimously approved a resolution supporting gay members of the Belmont community and inviting the administration to discuss the topic. The faculty senate met to the address the Howe matter. University officials have said Howe’s departure was mutual between the two parties, but women’s soccer team members say the former coach was fired.
The resolution is the latest in a series of developments on the Belmont campus, including a protest and a sit-in. Bridge Builders, a group of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students that has twice been denied official status with the university, will conduct another on-campus protest and a letter-writing campaign on Wednesday beginning at 10 a.m.
Bridge Builders will also oversee an information table at the Beaman Student Life Center. Letter writers are encouraged to urge Tennessee's elected officials in the U.S. Congress and in the state House and Senate to enact legislation that would prohibit the termination of an employee based on sexual orientation, according to Karlen Paxton, a Bridge Builders spokeswoman and Belmont student.