Curb wants Belmont to rehire women's soccer coach

Tuesday, December 7, 2010 at 7:31pm
Staff reports

Belmont University power broker Mike Curb has sent a letter to BU’s faculty senate noting his support for the group and his desire to see the university’s administration rehire former women’s soccer coach Lisa Howe.

Student newspaper Belmont Vision reported late Tuesday afternoon that Curb’s office confirmed the emailed letter.

Howe stepped aside last week after revealing to players that she and her same-sex partner are planning to have a child.

Curb, the man for whom Belmont’s Curb Event Center is named and one of the university’s most nationally recognized supporters, writes in the letter he wants Belmont to reconsider its hiring policies. Calling the Howe matter an “injustice,” Curb notes that if the issue remains unresolved, the university could face difficulties hosting future high-profile concerts and events.

Belmont hosted a 2008 presidential debate.

Curb writes that though the board of trustees seemingly backed the decision regarding Howe, no high-ranking BU official contacted him prior to the coach’s stepping down. Currently, Curb serves as a trustee emeritus.

University officials said the Howe resignation was mutual but some women’s soccer team members call it a firing. The faculty senate met Monday to the address the matter, unanimously voting to approve a resolution supporting gay members of the Belmont community and inviting the administration to discuss the topic.

Belmont University interim provost Pat Raines 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 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 Howe matter.


Filed under: City News

25 Comments on this post:

By: courier37027 on 12/7/10 at 9:49

Belmont should return serve and not pay social security withholding on its employees. Since social security does not offer survivor benefits to gay couples, and Social Security Administration is a federal entity, by default the SSA is taking nearly same stance as university. Furthermore Belmont, because of this federal bias, should not accept any payments from students who took out and paid tuition with federal student loans. Students, burn your loan papers and fight the power.

By: govskeptic on 12/8/10 at 6:44

Belmont "power broker" is an odd term for a former Calif resident
who now is, in fact . an "entertainment power broker"! Belmont has
been around a long time before and will be a long time after any
of our/or their "Power Brokers".

By: livinglively57 on 12/8/10 at 8:18

Thank you, Mike Curb, for stepping up and supporting the change that needs to occur at Belmont Univ. Nashville is watching.

By: global_citizen on 12/8/10 at 8:20

gov, if you think Belmont can afford to thumb its nose at Mike Curb, you're completely unfamiliar with the Belmont campus. Belmont's stature today has more to do with Mike Curb that Bob Fisher.

Curb doesn't just bring money, he brings connections. Think CMA awards, presidential debates. Those kind of connections. Without Curb's support, those events would not happen. Belmont's star starts to dim.

By: Wild Bill on 12/8/10 at 9:05

Wild Bill

This is a familiar trend seen at christian universities. Harvard University was started by the Puritans. I short walk across campus will inform one that the goals and principles of the Puritans were thrown in the trash bin long ago. Vanderbilt University was started by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South with a $1,000,000 endowment from Cornelius Vanderbilt. Yet hardly anyone at Vanderbilt would acknowledge the principles of the 1870s Methodist today.

When Belmont decided that to move ahead they needed to "tear down the barns that they had and build bigger barns" and then decided that in order to do that they would take extremely large amounts of cash from people that did not share all of their principles, then what did they think was going to happen.

This is a lesson for you Dr. Randy Lowry at Lipscomb University. You need to be prepared because this same type of thing is going to happen at Lipscomb and my guess is you will follow the same trend as Harvard and the rest and go down the path like a good little lamb led by all that diversity mesh mash.

By: frodo on 12/8/10 at 9:14

Mr. Curb brought with him from California not only his money but a West Coast world view. This is still Tennessee, last I checked. And there are plenty of opportunities for California culture down the street (at Vanderbilt). On the other hand, Belmont has been trying really hard to not be a local school. If Mr. Curb's money and those who agree with him win the day at Belmont, then we still have good schools in Nashville with conventional values...notably Lipscomb, Trevecca and Free Will Baptist. I'm okay with letting Belmont pursue acceptance on the national stage. But if they waffle on this one, then I hope the culturally sensitive, enlightened and tolerant ones among us will understand if my cultural orientation and firmly held beliefs lead me to send my children to those kinds of schools.

By: laurelrest on 12/8/10 at 9:34

Wait a second. Mike Curb was the Republican Lt. Governor of California and a friend of conservative demi-god Ronald Reagan. He's been in Nashville for years and now, because he expresses an opinion that diverges from redneck orthodoxy, he's a West Coast liberal. Frodo, do you have a bumper sticker that says, "Welcome to Nashville, now y'all go home?"

By: frodo on 12/8/10 at 9:42

Laurel, I'd call Mr. Curb an Arnold-Republican on issues like this. But, hey, I'm okay with it. We choose schools...schools don't choose us...oh, unless you are in the public school system....but that is another issue.

By: frodo on 12/8/10 at 9:53

Oh, and thank you Laurel for showing your own tolerant nature by painting me and some other schools in town with "redneck orthodoxy." I'd put a name to the kind of orthodoxy that wants Belmont culture to shift, but that might be unkind.

By: justonevoice on 12/8/10 at 10:32

If you dont stand for something, you will fall for anything.....

By: justonevoice on 12/8/10 at 10:41

Is Mr. Curb making a 'threat' (or promise depending on the side you are on) to Belmont that if they DONT reverse their decision in regards to Ms. Howe that he will make it difficult for Belmont to host all these BIG events in the future? [Quote: Curb notes that if the issue remains unresolved, the university could face difficulties hosting future high-profile concerts and events.Unquote]
And just because other schools have caved on their original beliefs on where they were started from, doesnt mean Belmont has to.
My question to Ms. Howe is: (1) Were you not lesbian when you were hired? (2) Why now to disclose your sexual preference to your students before the school administration? (3) If you were so content in keeping it quiet prior to your partner becoming pregnant and life was grand, what changed to make you desire to go public when you knew where you were employed and what was required in order to stay employed? Obviously you KNEW you were working for a religous-based university.

By: miscueiam@hotma... on 12/8/10 at 10:42


In order to escape the bonds of fundamentalism and poor
education we need more Curbs to move here. Nashville
has been blessed to have three Mayors from the East
and we have prospered from their guidence. Welcome
progress and the good it brings.

By: frodo on 12/8/10 at 10:59

Mayors from the East. Huh? East Texas? East St. Louis? Not sure I follow you.

And not sure I follow the fundamentalism (goes hand in hand with) poor
education logic. "Welcome progress"? Diseases "progress" just the same as good things. We shouldn't welcome progress just because it is called that.

Other than those points, miscue, we are in total agreement.

By: iTiSi on 12/8/10 at 12:14

Sounds like outright extortion to me. This former Californian has helped destroy country music and now he is trying to do the same to Belmont. Just tell him to "shove it"!

By: courier37027 on 12/8/10 at 1:32

If Mike Curb feels the coach has been slighted, then hire her to work for any of his other companies. Pay her same salary and put her in the mail room, sales, A&R, something at Curb Records. He would be putting his money where his mouth is, rather than dictating to an institution. Mr. Curb, open your record label's doors to this woman.

By: global_citizen on 12/8/10 at 1:38

justonevoice: "If you dont stand for something, you will fall for anything"

It bewilders me that some people think bumper sticker platitudes are a suitable substitute for rational, well thought out discussion.

By: global_citizen on 12/8/10 at 1:44

Some people seem to be making two assumptions in this case that may very likely not be true.

One, they assume Ms. Howe "knew the rules" about sexual orientation at Belmont when she accepted employment. However, Belmont has been very ambiguous on issues of sexual orientation for at least 20 years and nowhere gives clear guidance on sexual orientation in their written information about employment practices.

Secondly, people make the assumption that because she went to work for a "Christian" university she should have known that being an open lesbian would not be accepted. However, not every Christian denomination and not all Christians are hostile to gays and lesbians. Some of the more fundamentalist Christians commenting here seem to make the assumption that ALL Christians would reject Ms. Howe for being a lesbian when this is far from true.

By: global_citizen on 12/8/10 at 1:51

"If Mike Curb feels the coach has been slighted, then hire her to work for any of his other companies. Pay her same salary and put her in the mail room, sales, A&R, something at Curb Records. He would be putting his money where his mouth is, rather than dictating to an institution. Mr. Curb, open your record label's doors to this woman."

For all you know, maybe he already is.

By: Alphadog7 on 12/8/10 at 2:01

I hope Belmont is not so beholden to one person that they have to capitulate to their political opinion...

By: matahari on 12/8/10 at 2:16

belmont was fine employing a lesbian until she publicly announced that she was a lesbian. until they were forced to acknowledge that they employed a homosexual, they had no problem with her performance. they stuck their heads in the sand and split hairs because they didn't "know" she was a homosexual until she announced it. they are hypocrites. this isn't about standing up for what they believe in. if it were, ms howe would have been forced to find other employment well before she and her partner decided to have a baby. omission of the truth is the same as lying, and pretending not to know a person's sexual orientation until they publicly announce it is the same as breaking their own policy. bad dog belmont, bad dog.

By: matahari on 12/8/10 at 2:18

and alphadog7, they capitulated their political opinion when they chose to stick their collective heads in the sand and pretend ms howe wasn't a lesbian until she told everyone.

By: frodo on 12/8/10 at 3:36

And yet, let's remember that all we know for sure is Mz Howe voluntarily resigned. Sure, we might think it was otherwise, but there is no evidence to suggest otherwise. As Al Gore once said, "No controlling legal authority." Or, as Bill Clinton said, "I did not have sex with that woman..."

By: govskeptic on 12/9/10 at 6:26

It's funny that global_whatever and others think that the only
opinions that have considerable intelligent thought behind
them are theirs! I have no problem with Belmont's apparent
don't ask-don't tell policy if that's what it was. Let's also
remember Ms. Howe's record as a coach is just over 50%
which is reason alone to look for another coach!

By: HokeyPokey on 12/9/10 at 8:28

I'm with global on this one.

Most of you folks are sadly misinformed.

By: localboy on 12/9/10 at 11:17

"For all you know, maybe he already is."
If so, then he's taken good advice.