Tags: university tennessee | lawmaker | defund | diversity program | christmas

Tenn. State Rep. Pushes to Defund UT Office of Diversity

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By    |   Monday, 07 Dec 2015 09:47 PM

Irate over guidelines issued to ensure a "holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise" and calling it "the office of Political Correctness," a state lawmaker is moving to defund the University of Tennessee's Office for Diversity and Inclusion.

Republican Rep. Micah Van Huss, who represents Johnson City, cited the college department's recently-released "holiday" party guidelines as the last straw.

"My office began working on drafts of this legislation when the Office of Diversity proposed using gender-neutral pronouns earlier this summer," Huss said in a statement," local ABC affiliate WATE reports.

"We had been trying to draft something that would leave the office in place, but bring more oversight," he continued. "However, after this latest action, it is clear that this taxpayer-funded department in no way reflects the values of Tennesseans.

"First, it was Sex Week, then the Gender Neutral Pronouns, now these recommendations to ensure that "holiday" parties have nothing to do with Christmas. What else has the Office of Diversity been doing with our tax dollars?"

The university initially drew flak in April by hosting UT Sex Week, which included an outreach effort aimed at "the transgendered community," WATE reports.

Then in August, the Office for Diversity and Inclusion issued a call for students to use gender-neutral pronouns, drawing widespread ridicule. WATE reported that:

"The suggestion to use pronouns such as 'ze, hir, hirs, and xe, xem, xyr' has received national media attention and ire from some state politicians."

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey called it "political correctness gone amok."

The university soon backed away from the suggestion.

The office has drawn even more heat this month with its release of guidelines "to implement the following best practices for inclusive holiday celebrations" including:
  • Holiday parties and celebrations should celebrate and build upon workplace relationships and team morale with no emphasis on religion or culture. Ensure your holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise.
  • If sending holiday cards to campus and community partners, send a non-denominational card or token of your gratitude.
  • Décor selection should be general, not specific to any religion or culture.
A school official expressed frustration over the negative attention the guidelines have received.

"We just feel like it’s been so misconstrued. These were guidelines for holiday practice. They were just encouraging people to be sensitive," said Dr. Candace White, a Faculty Senate Executive Council member at the university, WATE reports.

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Irate over guidelines issued to ensure a holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise and calling it the office of Political Correctness, a state lawmaker is moving to defund the University of Tennessee's Office for Diversity and Inclusion. Republican Rep. Micah...
university tennessee, lawmaker, defund, diversity program, christmas
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2015-47-07
Monday, 07 Dec 2015 09:47 PM
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