Bill to strip UT of diversity office funding becomes law

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A bill to strip funding from the diversity office at the state’s flagship public university has become law without Gov. Bill Haslam’s signature.

Lawmakers had been angered by the University of Tennessee’s diversity office recommending the use of gender-neutral pronouns for transgender students and to avoid religious-themed holiday parties. So they voted to remove about $437,000 in state funds for the office and instead use the money to pay for minority scholarships.

Haslam said Friday that he does not like the precedent set by lawmakers redirecting funds within the budget of a higher education institution. But he stopped short of vetoing the bill.

The University of Washington announced Thursday it had hired Rickey Hall, the head of UT’s diversity office, as the school’s new vice president for minority affairs and diversity.

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