In Tennessee, Questions are Raised Regarding Efforts to Boost Minority Rates at Universities

Feb 14, 2013

University of Tennessee in Knoxville

A few Tennessee lawmakers are voicing concerns with a bill that aims to end any preference shown to minority groups on public college campuses. The legislation was delayed after a long committee hearing at the state capitol.

The proposal comes from out of state. A former university Regent in California who is an African American has helped pass similarly worded constitutional amendments in a few western states.

Ward Connerly says he’s attempting to re-level the playing field after years of informal affirmative action.

“We have evolved this theory that as long as we’re discriminating for good things, that that’s alright," said Connerly.

Some Republican members of the Senate Education Committee asked to put off a decision by a week. But chairwoman Delores Gresham vowed to pass the bill eventually, sharing her own experience in the military.

“I hated it when I was trotted out – one more time – as the duty, Hispanic, woman, lieutenant colonel," she said.

University presidents in Tennessee still have objections, saying it’s unclear what would be considered showing “preference” during the admittance or hiring process.