Legislators unhappy with UT’s gender neutral pronoun push

Some Republican state legislators are declaring dismay over a push by the University of Tennessee Office of Diversity and Inclusiveness for use of gender neutral pronouns, such as “ze” instead of “he” or “she.”

Excerpt from a News-Sentinel story:

State Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, said he thought the suggestion was a joke.

“And then I found out it was true, at which point I thought, ‘Are we really paying somebody to come up with this stuff?’ ” he said.

Dunn, a graduate of UT, said he would rather see public money spent on other academic areas such as math or technology. The Pride Center is fiscally supported by the state school.

“I just think that when people pay their taxes, they would rather have it go to a university so that people can learn something,” Dunn said Friday. “Not be brainwashed into some gobbledygook.”

State Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, posted on Facebook: “It seems to me the biggest lack of diversity we have at the University of Tennessee is people of common sense. Apparently, this is what happens when the decision is made that no one from Tennessee is smart enough to run our university.”

In a phone interview with the News Sentinel, Niceley said, “Maybe we ought to go back to ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ for everybody and that’ll take care of it.”

State Sen. Paul Bailey, R-Sparta, wrote on Facebook: “First it was eliminating the Lady Vols. Now this? I doubt if parents spending over $15,000 a year expect this kind of nonsense education from the University of Tennessee. My advice would be find something better and more productive to do.”

Excerpt from a Fox News commentary/story:

“It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” Republican State Sen. Mae Beavers told me. “If you must interview a student before you greet the student, that’s not acceptance – that’s just absurd.”

Beavers represents a “very conservative” district and she said her constituents are enraged over how their tax money is being spent by the university.

“The idea a child would want to be called by a gender neutral term is absolutely ridiculous,” she said. “It’s getting so crazy in this country.”

Note: Previous post HERE. The UT Office of Diversity and Inclusiveness website posting on gender neutral pronouns is HERE.