Retaliatory Move Comes After University Received Attention for Article Encouraging Gender-Neutral Pronouns
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The University of Tennessee will be forced to shut down its Office for Diversity and Inclusion on the Knoxville campus if State Republican Senator Dolores Gresham's bill becomes law. The bill, which specifically strips all state funding from that office, mandates only federal monies can be used to fund it. As The Tennessean reports, the "diversity office does not receive any federal funding."
The bill passed unanimously.
Sen. Gresham's micro-managing retaliatory efforts come in response to an article on that provoked a national conversation on gender, language, the use of gender-neutral pronouns, and what some called liberal extremism. The article, which administrators removed after attacks, suggested using pronouns like ze, xe, hir, zir, xem, hirs, zirs, and xyr, would encourage inclusivity.
Gresham, who has been in the Senate since 2008, and the House prior to that, has a record of voting for anti-LGBT measures. She voted for a bill that "Prohibits Instruction of Non-Heterosexual Human Sexuality in Schools," or in other words, a "don't say 'gay' bill." She also voted for a bill that "Authorizes a counselor or therapist to decline to provide counseling or therapy services based on his or her religious beliefs." In other words, a "religious freedom from helping gay people bill."
She also voted for a bill that "Prohibits Discrimination Against Religious Student Groups at Public Universities," aka, allow anti-gay religious-based discrimination on campus.
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