LaLonde explains silence on Belmont issue to constituents

Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 11:15am

Metro Councilwoman Kristine LaLonde, previously silent about Belmont University’s dismissal of gay women’s soccer coach Lisa Howe, is explaining her reluctance to speak on the issue.  

In a letter sent Thursday to constituents, LaLonde, who is a professor at Belmont and represents the surrounding neighborhood on the council, said her “discretion was motivated by respect for my colleagues and students.”

“I was never motivated by fear for my position at Belmont or by the possibility of negative repercussions for my career,” LaLonde said. “From my first job interviews with Belmont, I have made clear that my own Christian faith has informed support for equality and justice for all, including the GLBT community, and I have always felt supported by Belmont.” 

Last week, The City Paper sought comment from LaLonde regarding Howe’s dismissal, but she declined.

“In the last two weeks, I have strongly believed that the goal of nondiscrimination at Belmont was best served by my working in my capacity as a faculty member,” LaLonde said. “Along with many, many of my faculty colleagues, I have been devoting many hours toward the goal of ensuring that Belmont’s policies of inclusion and nondiscrimination are clear and powerful. During this work, I have felt it was important that I not be seen as using the issue to further my own political fortunes. I wanted to respect the confidentiality and discretion that the discussions then warranted.”

LaLonde cited recent comments from Belmont President Bob Fisher, who said, “Belmont is committed to working with faculty, students, alumni, board members and the community-at-large to dialogue about our policies and practices to ensure that our actions are consistent with our values and to ensure that our campus remains a welcoming place for all.”

Said LaLonde, “Dialogues are indeed ongoing, and I will take an active role in helping to shape a Belmont that our neighborhood and city can continue to take pride in.”

9 Comments on this post:

By: District18Voter on 12/16/10 at 12:58

.....tag line should read...I am Bob Fisher and someone at Belmont wrote and I approved this message.

So much for the leadership studies professor standing up for what's right. A little late to the party Ms. LaLonde.

By: CP102 on 12/16/10 at 1:16

or how about "I'm trying to get tenure, so I cannot speak"
clearly her job at Belmont is more important than the people she represents in District 18

By: Alphadog7 on 12/16/10 at 2:02

A refreshing approach after the Mike Curb debacle.

By: spooky24 on 12/16/10 at 3:00

I agree with you guys on this one-what a cop out. How to say nothing in 200 words or more.

By: NewYorker1 on 12/16/10 at 3:32

Said LaLonde, “Dialogues are indeed ongoing, and I will take an active role in helping to shape a Belmont that our neighborhood and city can continue to take pride in.”

Too late. I hate Belmont as a result of this. I will not support, hire, or associate myself with Belmont University or anyone that attends that school.

By: District18Voter on 12/17/10 at 8:41

She does not represent the people in the 18th. She represents Belmont. I do hope we have a better choice in the next election. She has been a complete failure.

By: govskeptic on 12/17/10 at 8:45

LaLonda made the right decision on when and what remarks to make.
She explained while still a candidate that she was an instructor at
Belmont and would not use her position to favor the school in decision
making which, of course, also should understandably preclude her from
using her position to critize as well. NewYorker1 has way overstated
his own importance and his position on most matters are over the top!

By: HokeyPokey on 12/17/10 at 8:55

We knew this was a problem during the election, and still we elected her.


By: courier37027 on 12/17/10 at 8:58

Why hasn't Obama stepped in and offered a beer summit?