Sen. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, recommended the office while the Senate Education Committee was reviewing the UT budget as proposed by Gov. Bill Haslam. Hensley proposed an amendment that would set aside $450,000 from the budget to fund the office on the Knoxville campus, a move some senators suggested would encourage more people with conservative views to speak their minds.
UT President Joe DiPietro, who had been fielding questions from the committee for more than an hour, seemed blindsided. But he urged the lawmakers to give university leaders a chance to consider other options.
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