A Republican state representative in Tennessee named Micah Van Huss is sponsoring a bill that would defund diversity programs at the University of Tennessee, opting instead to use the money to purchase “In God We Trust” stickers on all law enforcement vehicles.
As first reported by the Knoxville News Sentinel, Van Huss filed House Bill 2248, which would effectively strip funds allocated from UT’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion and further prevent the school from using any state-allocated funds “to promote the use of gender-neutral pronouns, Sex Week or to promote or demote a religious holiday.”
Taking things further, on Tuesday the GOP lawmaker added an amendment to this bill, stripping an additional $100,000 each year from the university, which would then be used to pay for “In God We Trust” stickers for law enforcement vehicles statewide.
The House Education Subcommittee approved both the amendment and the bill immediately.
Even some Republicans were taken back by Van Huss’ fire and brimstone rhetoric. His fellow GOP Rep. Eddie Smith pleaded with Huss to consider discussing a compromise which would allow UT to “fix these issues internally rather than us doing it.”
“I don’t know if it would be advantageous to take a step back. The University of Tennessee and specifically the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, in my mind and my research, has a history of repeat offenses,” Huss replied. “Personally I don’t trust the University of Tennessee to fix the problem on their own.”
Clearly, consistent attempts to create a more inclusive campus towards people of color and the LGBT community is not something the GOP is prepared to tolerate.
Van Huss is up for reelection this November.