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Tenn. senator wants to end diversity programs on college campuses

11:13 PM, Jan 24, 2013   |    comments
Senator Jim Summerville (R- Dickson)
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A Tennessee state lawmaker believes it's time to end diversity programs and preference for minorities on college campuses and in other areas.

Senator Jim Summerville (R- Dickson) has introduced a series of bills he calls the "Civil Rights Initiative of 2013." It would ban diversity officers on campus, abolish any preference given by universities to those of different races and ethnicities, and prohibit the state from keeping any statistics based on race, gender or ethnicity.

"It's a little demeaning I think to classify people in those categories. They might wonder 'Am I here because I'm any good or am I here to fill a quota?' So I think it's time to let this go," said Summerville.

The bill is getting backlash from LGBT group members at Austin Peay University. They say the move would hurt their school's diversity.

"Not only is it appalling, but I'm confused as to why. Austin Peay is an extremely diverse campus and we embrace that," said Ryan Whipkey with the Gay Straight Alliance.

Right now, the bill has no House sponsor, but Summerville says he's confident he'll find someone to carry it there.

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