It’s time to recognize that Tennesseans are individuals, not whites or blacks, women, Latinos and all those meaningless divisions and subdivisions that push us apart. … We were the party that freed the slaves. It’s time to use our supermajority for something good to fight this last battle for civil rights of our time.
“What I fear is that this bill, well intentioned as it may be, may very well impede us from the ability to reach out to those groups who aren’t doing well at our institutions to try to assist them to do better,” Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan said.
After a couple hours, Democratic Sen. Charlotte Burks finally asked the relevant question: "Have we had problems in our state with this? If we haven't, why are we doing this? I don't really see the point to this legislation." The rest of the committee ignored her.
Summerville recently apologized for his “rat’s ass” remark, saying he’s now trying to be like Jesus who would never say such a thing. The Senate Education Committee seemed about to adopt his bill and send it to the full Senate, but the senators became confused about various amendments and decided to think about it for a week.
That prompted a little tirade by the chair, Sen. Dolores Gresham, a retired Marine colonel. She complained that she was "paraded out" for honors during her military career "like I had a disease" because she's hispanic, and she promised the bill will clear her committee because she thinks affirmative action should end.
"If we are going to bicker about wording, then bicker we will until we get it right," she said.