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Politics

UT faculty urge lawmakers to support diversity programs

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — More than two dozen University of Tennessee faculty members have signed a letter calling on state lawmakers not to support funding cuts or limits on diversity programs.

The Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1nWXHgJ ) reports that the letter was signed by 28 faculty members and published online Friday.

The letter also urges campus leaders to implement "concrete actions" to promote diversity.

Sociology professor Michelle Christian says the letter is partially in response to a March 2 vote by the state Senate Education Committee to divert $8 million in funding from the Knoxville campus and limit the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to federal funding.

Several Republican lawmakers were upset by the office's recommendations that gender-neutral pronouns be used on campus and that religious references be stripped at holiday parties and events on campus.