Tennessee bill would ban diversity programs on campuses

A Tennessee lawmaker has introduced legislation that would ban college campuses from hosting diversity programs and participating in any racial preferences.

State Sen. Jim Summerville has introduced a series of bills called the Civil Rights Initiative of 2013, reports Knoxville NBC affiliate WBIR-TV.

The proposal also would prohibit the state from keeping any statistics based on race, gender or ethnicity, or using those criteria for hiring, except as mandated by federal law.

“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,” Mr. Summerville, a Republican, told WBIR.

“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. hoped to live to see an America where his children would be judged ‘not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,’” Mr. Summerville said, according to The Tennessean newspaper. “I think he’d be sad if he were among us today to see that this generation has failed in that hope.”

The legislation appears to only be receiving backlash from the LGBT community at Austin Peay State University — so far.

“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.

The proposal currently does not have a House sponsor, but Mr. Summerville said he’s confident he’ll find one.

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