UCW Legislative Alert 2/13/2013

On January 9 and 10 of this year, in the very first days of the new legislative session, Sen. Summerville (R, Dickson) introduced a series of seven bills to systematically end all efforts to undo the legacy of Jim Crow and segregation in our state’s educational institutions, and furthermore to get rid of all efforts to promote diversity, equality, inclusion, and to guard against bigotry, prejudice, and oppression in our schools, colleges, and universities.

The extreme proposals including measure to outlaw having anyone on any campus who, “promotes diversity, equality, and inclusion,” who assures “implementation of…[and] monitoring of compliance with” two titles of the Civil Rights Act, Title IX protecting women, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.” SB46 seeks to prohibit the existence of even a single person who addresses charges of “discrimination and violations of federal laws, state laws, and institutional policies.”

Later this afternoon one of the bills in this package, SB8 will be heard in Senate Education Committee. SB8 is so broad that some higher education officials fear it “could impact any number of recruiting and programmatic areas, including all female, all male groups such as fraternities and sororities.” (UT Advocacy’s TN Legislature Notes 2/13).

Coinciding with the observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, UCW’s Executive Board issued a statement stating clearly our union’s commitment to “a workplace where everyone is respected, has due process and rights, and which is free from discrimination, bigotry, and prejudice against anyone,” and pledging “to stand up for ourselves, our coworkers, the students and the public we serve–to stand up for one another–in the face of so much injustice.”

We know that today's hearing is only a single first step in the process of trying to force these policies on our public colleges and universities, and much work is ahead of us. We encourage all higher education employees, students and community allies to contact Senate Education Committee members, and to make plans to attend our annual Campus Workers Day on the Hill, Tuesday, March 12 in Nashville.You can view the hearing live starting at 3:00PM CST here.

Committee Members:

Sen. Dolores R. Gresham, Chair
Phone: 1-800-449-8366, Ext. 1-2368

Sen. Reginald Tate, 1st Vice Chair

Phone: 1-800-449-8366, Ext. 1-2509

Sen. Steven Dickerson
Phone: 1-800-449-8366, Ext. 1-6679

Sen. Charlotte Burks

Phone: 1-800-449-8366, Ext. 1-3978

Sen. Stacey Campfield
Phone: 1-800-449-8366, Ext. 1-1766

Sen. Rusty Crowe
R-Johnson City
Phone: 1-800-449-8366, Ext. 1-2468

Sen. Todd Gardenhire
Phone: 1-800-449-8366, Ext. 1-6682

Sen. Brian Kelsey
Phone: 1-800-449-8366, Ext. 1-3036

Sen. Joey Hensley
Phone: 1-800-449-8366, Ext. 1-3100