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UT president says school committed to inclusion, diversity

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The University of Tennessee. The University of Tennessee.

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The president of the University of Tennessee says it's committed to inclusion and diversity even though references to the use of gender-neutral pronouns were removed from a school website.

UT President Joe DiPietro spoke at a hearing before the state Senate Higher Education Subcommittee on Wednesday.

The University of Tennessee Office for Diversity and Inclusion had asked students and faculty to use gender-neutral pronouns such as "ze" in order to create a more inclusive campus.

But following a slew of complaints, including UT alumni and state lawmakers, DiPietro sent a message to university trustees last month saying references to gender-neutral pronouns would be removed from the school's Office for Diversity and Inclusion website.

DiPietro told committee members on Wednesday that the website posting was never intended to be policy, and that steps have been taken to ensure similar misunderstandings don't occur in the future.

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