On Wednesday afternoon, a Senate Education subcommittee convened to discuss issues of governance at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and in higher education throughout the state. The issue that brought legislators together--a controversy over gender neutral pronouns at UT-K--was actually barely discussed.
Everyone ended up agreeing that there never had been a policy requirement for gender neutral pronouns at UT-K, but that didn't stop legislators from discussing anything and everything else related to diversity issues in higher education.
Issues of diversity budgeting, staffing, and goal setting came up. Sex Week came up. Some legislators suspected that students who are pro-Western civilization are marginalized and that pro-Western civilization faculty are few.
One legislator assured the small crowd that he has African-American friends before raising questions about freedom of speech and assembly.
One senator really summed the whole thing up when he asked why he was there. It really wasn't clear why the hearing was taking place, though the chairman did try to keep things focused.
And that's all right, in one sense. I'm glad we didn't have to sit through an afternoon of attacks on transgender and gender non-conforming students. On the other hand, considering that the pronoun issue really wasn't addressed, I have to wonder what on earth is going to land in the final report of recommendations to the full Senate Education Committee.
Time will tell.