Image Credit: Chattanooga City Council & City Boards / YouTube
The Tennessee Conservative Staff –
Last Tuesday, the Chattanooga City Council approved $19,800 in funding for a social and equity study to be done by University of Tennessee at Chattanooga professor Dr. Marcus Mauldin.
The study was initially requested by Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrad, who stated that it would allow them to analyze “disparities” in the city.
According to Councilwoman Carol Berz, the approval was given on the contingency that the council would be given a framework of exactly what would be involved in the study.
Mauldin stated that the study would include 4-6 months of the students gathering data and analyzing it. At the conclusion of this, policy recommendations would be made to the council to aid in future decision making.
Mauldin said the intention of the study would not be “to fingerpoint” but rather to determine where “the benefits do not reach everyone in the same way.”
Mauldin added, “We will look at where these things exist” and “try to figure out adequate and sustainable solutions.”
Prior to voting on the study, Berz stated the focus should be not only on race, but also on gender and age.
The money for the project would come from the City Council budget, however the city already has an equity department tasked with monitoring this.
Berz noted that the council had already authorized a similar study during the prior administration. In 2016, the council authorized a study that noted racial and gender disparities in five categories.
Critics argued that $20,000 is not enough funding for a valid, reliable study, so it was a waste of funding for something that would not really provide useful information.
Chair Raquetta Dotley, however, praised the study, saying, “It would be great to have an equity framework for our decisions.”