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December 10, 2013

Inbox — Dec. 11, 2013

Letters to the Editor

Kudos to U of LGBT
Thanks for the great cover story on U of L’s LGBT community (LEO Weekly, Dec. 4). The university has a long history of support for the LGBT community going back to 1970, one year after the Stonewall riots. That year, President Woodrow Strickler stood up to state legislators who objected to a “Gay Liberation” class at the school’s Free University program.

In 1982, students formed the school’s first LGBT social and support group, the Gay Student Union. Reportedly, it was one of the first in the country, and certainly in the South. A few years later, U of L instituted a policy prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In 2001, it accepted my donation of thousands of books, publications and other materials now known as the Williams-Nichols Collection, one of the largest LGBT libraries and archives in the nation.

The current administration has bent over backwards to show support for its LGBT students and faculty. President Ramsey even hosted an event for the community at his home this year.

Louisvillians of all stripes have lots of reasons to be proud of their university for its support of diversity and inclusion. It’s miles ahead of nearly every other institution of higher learning in the South and, yes, even the Midwest.
David Williams, Old Louisville

What A Week Where?
I am a regular reader of LEO and have noticed recently that the What A Week (the city’s weekly zeitgeist radar) is becoming more and more off target. Many weeks, at least one — and sometimes more — of the four blurbs has nothing whatsoever to do with our city.

The most recent and egregious example is in the Dec. 4 issue in which the city’s “world-classness” is penalized two points for the destruction of comet ISON as it orbited around the sun. Outside of the fact that Louisville is on a planet that orbits the same sun as the now-defunct comet, what does this have to do with our city? Has the collective mood of Metro Louisville dropped as a result? Is Louisville a worse place to live because of this?

The same holds true for other recent What a Week blurbs, most of which result in points deducted against the city for items such as national and international politics or events with little or no direct connection to our Metro area. Please make an effort to either come up with four items specific to Louisville in the future or run the article bi-weekly or monthly when there are sufficient relevant items to print.
Christopher Breslin, Middletown

Suspending Honesty
Your readers are generally pretty smart people. So why not give them credit for a fifth-grade understanding of arithmetic? In your Nov. 27 What A Week piece, you reported that “close to half of the black student population (43 percent) was suspended at least one time during middle school ...” But wait. That’s not, “about half.” That’s 43 percent. It wouldn’t be much less accurate to estimate the 14 percent of white students suspended as “about none.”

You are right about one thing: It’s a complex issue requiring not only community discussion, but honesty. You might also point out that not only black students are disproportionately suspended, but also poor students, male students, students from single-parent households, students exposed to violence, students living in high-crime neighborhoods, and the list goes on. And, it is important to note that most of these disproportionately affect African-American students. These correlations are interrelated and complex, but the strongest correlation is to poverty, not race. Your reporters need to investigate the problem and report on it with no bias or agenda.

And while we’re on the subject, students are not suspended because they fit into some group. They are suspended because they are too disruptive, defiant or violent to discipline with in-school measures. We should not lose sight of that.
Charlie Baker, Highlands  

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