Black Lawmakers Vow to Fight UT Diversity Program Cuts

Press Release from the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators, December 23, 2015:

NASHVILLE- The Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators is condemning an “attack” on diversity programs in higher education by Republican lawmakers. Some conservative lawmakers have vowed to review funding for college diversity programming across the state after two recent controversies at the University of Tennessee. The Knoxville University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion recently posted on the campus website suggestions about gender-neutral pronouns and inclusive holiday celebrations that have been criticized by conservatives. In the wake of those posts, later removed, some Republican lawmakers have called for the General Assembly to de-fund the office and to review other diversity programs across the state. Chairwoman Brenda Gilmore of Nashville says the Black Caucus “strongly opposes these actions and any actions to reduce diversity efforts in Tennessee”. Gilmore says the offices are needed to combat decades of discrimination in the state’s colleges and universities and said the caucus is concerned about the “hidden messages that Republican lawmakers are trying to send. The Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators is going on to the record as standing against these actions and will fight any efforts to reduce state funding to these programs.”