Helen Dragas–the University of Virginia board leader who led the unsuccessful charge to fire President Teresa Sullivan–once objected to the creation of a class on lady Gaga, according to Inside Higher Ed. When the provost defended the class, Dragas responded that although the content of such a class may be interesting, it was hard to justify on the financial end of things:
The university’s provost wrote back to describe the course as one focused on writing and culture. Dragas replied: “I appreciate that the course content can be defended,” but she added that the course and the discussion of it “probably aren’t helping us justify funding requests.” She added that “opinions will, of course, vary on curricular content and direction, but there must be some internal arbiter of what is appropriate.”
In opposing the class, Dragas cited research cited research done by the Heritage Foundation:
Guess how many top-tier universities offer a course on Lady Gaga? Four! The University of Virginia, the University of South Carolina, Wake Forest University, and Arizona State University all now offer semester-long explorations of Lady Gaga’s apparently profound influence—since 2007—on music, fashion, and the LGBT lifestyle. Yet none of these universities requires students to take a course in U.S. history before graduation. Professors and faculty at top-ranked institutions are giving preference to frivolous classes at the expense of true education.