Diversity funding fingerprint

SEAT stands in firm opposition to the proposed bills in the Tennessee General Assembly that would slash the budget of the Office for Diversity and Inclusion.

As an organization, SEAT’s mission is to facilitate pleasure, health, and empowerment for ALL students, from all backgrounds. Making our programming accessible and relevant to the entire student body is a top priority for us, and every year we work to improve based on the feedback we get, whether that's having ASL interpreters at our events or having more of a certain type of event.

Diversity means equity. It means working to end a long history of injustice at our institution and working for a better future. Part of UT’s history is that for over a hundred years our university did not admit black people, other people of color, or women. Part of UT’s history is that there are many alive today who remember when certain organizations did not allow students of color or LGBTQ+ students to become members. Part of UT’s reality is that there are still parts of campus today where students of color, LGBTQ+ students, students with disabilities, and others are met with hostility.

Diversity means having a campus that's accessible and welcoming to all students. It means celebrating all students, including and especially those who have faced tremendous obstacles to get here: low-income students, first-generation students, students with disabilities. It also means understanding that these obstacles don't disappear once students get to campus, and we as a university have an obligation to do better to facilitate inclusion in all of our spaces.

Diversity and inclusion are critical to our university, even if our state legislature doesn't think so. We, the students on this campus, know better.

SEAT is a proud member of the #UTDiversityMatters Coalition. Diversity is so important that we have made it a critical part of our focus this entire semester, meeting with administrators, participating in rallies, and traveling to Nashville to lobby our elected officials. On Tuesday at 1:40pm many of us will be participating in a Mass Class Exit to protest our legislature’s reckless, incendiary attempts to defund diversity at UT and to push our administration to support diversity. As students who are directly affected by this legislation, we must rally together in these times of threat. This is our school, and our voice matters. For more info on the Mass Class Exit, visit facebook.com/UTDiversityMatters or email utdivmatters@gmail.com.

In Solidarity,

Elizabeth Stanfield

Co-chair, Sexual Empowerment and Awareness at Tennessee

elihstan@vols.utk.edu

Colleen Ryan

Co-chair, Sexual Empowerment and Awareness at Tennessee

cryan16@vols.utk.ed

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