Gardenhire drops push to cut UT diversity funding

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A bill seeking to strip funding from University of Tennessee’s diversity office has been withdrawn in the Senate.

Republican Sen. Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga withdrew the bill (SB1912) from consideration on Wednesday. Supporters had been upset at the state’s flagship university for promoting an annual Sex Week and for recommending the use of gender-neutral pronouns on campus and advising against religious-themed parties and decorations.

The House version of the bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Micah Van Huss of Jonesborough would have redirected $100,000 from the diversity office to pay for the school to create “In God We Trust” decals and send them to law enforcement agencies around the state.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has spoken out against dismantling diversity funding at higher education instructions.