Tennessee Lawmakers Move To Defund University’s Diversity Office

Tierney Sneed, Talking Points Memo, April 20, 2016

The Tennessee state Senate passed legislation Wednesday stripping funding from the office of diversity at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. A similar bill was approved by the state House earlier this week. The bill will return to the House one more time to consider Senate amendments before it heads to the desk of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.

The Senate legislation was introduced by Sen. Todd Gardenhire, who accused the office of engaging in “foolishness.”

“You are free to do whatever you want to do–say and do and act however you want to,” Gardenhire said, NBC11ALIVE reported. “But we as elected representatives of the people of the state, we feel free to do what we think is necessary to stop this foolishness.”

According to the NBC11ALIVE report, Tennessee lawmakers objected to the office’s promotion on its website of gender neutral pronouns and “inclusive holiday celebrations.” {snip}

The legislation diverts the state money for the office to a scholarship program for minority engineering students. It also prohibits the use of state funds “to promote the use of gender neutral pronouns, to promote or inhibit the celebration of religious holidays, or to fund or support sex week.”

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