TNGOP seeks end of UT diversity funding; TNDP sees ‘smokescreen’

The Tennessee Republican Party Executive Committee has approved a resolution calling on the Legislature to eliminate funding for the University of Tennessee Office of Diversity.

State Democratic Chair Mary Mancini, meanwhile, has declared Tennessee Republicans are following a tradition of “manufactured problems” that creates a “smokescreen for their ineffectiveness and secrecy.”

The TNGOP resolution, approved by voice vote Saturday, and the TNDP press release are below.

UPDATE: Georgiana Vines talks with Hobart Rice of Dandridge, who brought up the resolution for discussion at the executive committee meeting, HERE.

Resolution approved by the State Executive Committee of the Tennessee Republican Party, as provided by a committee member:

Whereas the University of Tennessee Office of Diversity and Inclusion has recommended that acknowledgement of Christianity be reduced or eliminated from University holiday activities.

Whereas the free expression of religion is a foundational principle of the United States of America.

Whereas the Tennessee Republican Party honors and respects our nation’s Constitution and traditions.

Whereas the Tennessee Republican Party stands with Tennesseans who wish to openly and freely state their relationship with God without fear of intimidation or retribution in publicly owned facilities.

Whereas the University of Tennessee Office of Diversity and Inclusion operates on a budget of more than $5 million per year at taxpayer expense.

Whereas the University of Tennessee Office of Diversity and Inclusion has brought national embarrassment to Tennessee for the second time in less than one year.

Be it resolved that the Tennessee Republican Party rejects in the strongest terms the efforts of the University of Tennessee Office of Diversity and Inclusion to eliminate Christianity from the observance of the holiday season.

Be it further resolved that the Tennessee Republican Party calls upon our elected officials to eliminate funding for the University of Tennessee Office of Diversity and Inclusion in future state budgets.

News release from Tennessee Democratic Party
Nashville, Tenn. (December 7, 2015) – Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini released the following statement addressing Republicans and their misplaced priorities:

“People in Tennessee are hurting. They are without healthcare and quality jobs and hope for a better future and this is what the Tennessee Republicans want to discuss? The decision by a college administrator about the kind of parties they have?

Ask any Tennessean without healthcare and without a job and they’ll tell you that they’re more concerned with making ends meet during this holiday season than they are with whether or not someone has a tree or a menorah at their office party. Maybe Tennessee Republicans like Congressman Scott DesJarlais, State Senator Dolores Gresham, State Rep. Mike Bell and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey have the luxury of wasting time on this but people who are trying to provide for their families during the holidays are more concerned with putting dinner on the table or being able to take a sick child to the doctor without bankrupting everything they have worked for.

Manufactured problems are a hallmark of Republican rule in Tennessee. It creates a smokescreen for their ineffectiveness and secrecy while they roadblock access to affordable health care, interfere with local control of public schools, and work to sell off pieces of the University of Tennessee to the highest bidder. Enough is enough.

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