University of Tennessee Silent as Anti-Israel Protesters Demonstrate Past School’s Deadline

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UTK) has apparently not made any statements or actions as anti-Israel protesters continued to demonstrate past the school’s given deadline of May 11.

UTK allowed the People’s School for Gaza, which is not an official student organization at the university, to demonstrate on campus for about two weeks after starting on May 1, despite UTK’s rules for using its outdoor spaces. The school went so far as to reserve the space the protesters had been using, the Student Union Cumberland Plaza, on the group’s behalf.

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University of Tennessee Reserves Campus Space for Anti-Israel Protesters After Noncompliant Behavior

Gaza protest UTK

After about one week of protests and refusal to comply with the University of Tennessee-Knoxville’s (UTK) rules and flouting warnings of violating state law, an anti-Israel protest group on campus has had the Student Union Cumberland Plaza designated for it by the school itself.

On Wednesday, May 1, a group of protesters called the “People’s School for Gaza,” which is not a student organization registered with UTK, began demonstrating on campus after an official event held by the school’s official chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, The Tennessee Star previously reported.

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Funding Sources Behind Tennessee Student Groups Linked to Pro-Palestine, Anti-Israel Causes Under Scrutiny

Pro-Palestine protest

As anti-Israel protests on college campuses across the country dominate the headlines, higher education institutions in Tennessee have also harbored a presence of student activism on behalf of the Palestinian side of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Two student organizations with chapters at some Tennessee colleges—Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)—are among many activist groups across the country that receive abundant funding and harbor ties to left-leaning groups.

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Anti-Israel Demonstrations at University of Tennessee Continue Into Sixth Day

People’s School for Gaza

Anti-Israel demonstrations at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UTK) continued into their sixth consecutive day on Monday, May 6. A non-student organization calling itself the People’s School for Gaza held demonstrations at multiple locations on UTK’s campus.

The group announced a meeting at 9 a.m. ET in an initial Instagram post and moved across campus throughout the day. By 1:50 p.m. ET, demonstrators had moved to the lawn of the Student Union, according to a post later in the day.

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Tennessee Universities Earn Bad Free Speech Code Ratings

Many Tennessee universities maintain speech codes that suppress campus free speech, according to a recent report by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE). Of the six Tennessee schools included in the report, five reportedly have rules restricting free speech.

The Spotlight on Campus Speech Codes 2024 report rates U.S. colleges based on whether their written speech codes do not infringe on protected speech. According to the report, 85.4 percent of schools maintain policies that can or do infringe on free expression.

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University of Tennessee System Guarantees Admission for Certain In-State Students

At a special meeting of the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees at Thursday night, the state university system adopted a new policy that will guarantee college admission to certain in-state applicants. 

Effective immediately, Tennessee high schoolers applying to a University of Tennessee school with the following credentials will automatically be accepted to at least one school in the state university system:

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University of Tennessee Board of Trustees Approves Construction of $227 Million Business School Building

According to the University of Tennessee -Knoxville, the school’s Board of Trustees has approved the construction of a new building that will cost more than a quarter of a million dollars. 

“The board voted in favor of an amendment to the campus master plan to allow for construction of the building beginning as soon as fall 2023, as well as a $127,350,000 increase in funding for the project, bringing the total budget to $227,350,000,” according to the UT Daily Beacon. 

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Tennessee Universities Refuse Comment on How They Will Implement New Intellectual Diversity Law

Public university leaders in Tennessee are staying silent on how and when they plan to follow a new state law that requires them to implement intellectual diversity on their campuses.

Diversity offices, presidents’ offices, and media affairs’ divisions at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, University of Memphis, Tennessee State University and East Tennessee State University have not responded with answers to emails and phone calls from The College Fix over the last 10 days asking about their plans to follow the relatively new law.

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Woke University of Tennessee Professors Speak Out Against ‘Divisive Concepts’ Bill

Several University of Tennessee – Knoxville (UTK) professors are speaking out about the so-called “divisive concepts” bill that has taken effect in Tennessee, which they oppose. 

“Professors and faculty at universities and colleges are specially qualified to teach the classes that they teach. They need to be in charge of what goes on in their classrooms and when the legislature comes in and starts dictating what can and cannot be discussed, that disrupts the entire purpose of higher education,” UTK professor Kristina Gehrman told 10NEWS.

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Cost of College Textbooks in Tennessee Nearly Equal to One Additional Semester in School, Study Finds

Tennessee Comptrollers released a report Thursday that addressed what they said was the rising costs of college textbooks in the state. “Although the cost of course materials is only one component of the cost of a postsecondary education, by the time a student obtains a degree, the total spent on course materials can equal the cost of an additional semester of tuition at some four-year institutions. The report discusses initiatives among the state’s higher education institutions to make college course materials more affordable,” according to a press release that the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office of Research and Education Accountability emailed Thursday.

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Trial Begins for University of Tennessee, Knoxville Science Professor Allegedly Hiding Chinese Research Affiliations

A previously tenured science professor from University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) faced trial Monday for allegedly covering up his research affiliations with China. The professor, Anming Hu, was first indicted last February by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). His trial is a part of the DOJ’s “China Initiative,” an investigative effort by the DOJ’s National Security Division (NSD) to identify and prosecute individuals engaged in trade secret theft, hacking, economic espionage, foreign direct investment threats, and supply chain compromises to benefit the Chinese government.

The trial, United States v. Anming Hu, began Monday at 9 a.m. EST in the Eastern. According to court documents, the hearing is scheduled to continue Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. In addition to facing charges for false statements about his affiliations with the Beijing University of Technology (BJUT), Hu is facing charges of wire fraud. 

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Taxpayers Spend $700,000 on University of Tennessee Knoxville Program with No History of Success


The feds are handing out more than $700,000 of taxpayer money to the University of Tennessee Knoxville so school officials can find more ways to get women involved with STEM. There’s just one problem, said Toni Airaksinen, in a column this week for PJ Media. Previous attempts have had “zero record of success,” Airaksinen said. According to Live Science, STEM incorporates the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics all into one curriculum. Officials at UT-Knoxville did not respond to The Tennessee Star’s questions about this matter before close of business Friday. Writing for one year ago, Airaksinen profiled a Georgetown University economics professor, Adriana Kugler, who found STEM recruitment efforts that target women backfire. The problem, the article went on to say, is how the media portrays the situation. “The trouble begins when the media and recruitment efforts capitalize on that preponderance of men, since it sends an additional message to women that they don’t fit into those fields, and that they don’t belong there,” Kugler told Campus Reform. “With the media, women are getting multiple signals that they don’t belong in the STEM field, that they won’t fit into the field. That’s what we find. It’s very…

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Tennessee’s American Muslim Advisory Council Board Member Shouts Down Police During Saturday Protest at UT Knoxville

Drost Kokoye, a founding and current board member of the American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC), Tennessee’s most prominent Muslim organization, was caught on video using a bullhorn held to the faces of police and shouting them down for wearing riot gear while they were protecting protesters like Kokoye at UT Knoxville on Saturday. You can see Kokoye aggressively pushing her bullhorn towards the face of one police officer at the 2:22 mark of this video from WATE TV. The demonstration was organized by UT Knoxville’s Progressive Student Alliance to protest the university’s decision to allow Matthew Heimbach, leader of the Traditionalist Worker Party, to speak at UTK, the first stop on his campus speech tour. Heimbach’s group ascribes to white nationalist ideology. During Saturday’s UTK demonstration that devolved into a hate protest against the police, AMAC board member Drost Kokoye joined marchers delivering that message – “cops get the f*** off our campus (look for the pink hijab in the video below): “COPS GET THE F*** OFF OUR CAMPUS” Student-led protests at the University of Tennesee today against ‘police and nazis’ as Matthew Heimbach set to speak. — Matt Finn (@MattFinnFNC) February 17, 2018 Kokoye posted this tweet about…

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University of Tennessee-Knoxville to Host Presentation on Islamophobia Tonight

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville will host a speaker this evening who will talk about Islamophobia and social justice. Amer F. Ahmed’s presentation is called “Addressing Islamophobia: Dispelling Myths to Break Down Barriers” and is part of the university’s celebration of International Education Week. The school website says that Ahmed “skillfully interweaves social justice, diversity and inclusion, and intercultural frameworks to cultivate rich and meaningful dialogue with his audiences.” “This program will benefit participants interested in learning more about Islam and Islamophobia, providing needed context to bridge divides,” the website says. Born in Ohio to Indian Muslim immigrants, Ahmed is “an intercultural diversity consultant, college administrator, facilitator, poet and Hip Hop activist,” according to his website. He has held positions at Loras College in Iowa, Concordia College in Minnesota, the University of Michigan and Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. He is currently director of intercultural teaching and faculty development at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The growing emphasis on Islamophobia in recent years has been criticized by conservatives as an effort to downplay and distort the differences between Islam and other belief systems and for becoming a factor behind people being afraid to report potential terrorist activity despite “see something, say something” campaigns. Two years…

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‘Abortion is Normal’ Event to Be Held at University of Tennessee-Knoxville

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville will hold a pro-abortion event Monday called “Abortion is Normal.” The event was organized by the Women’s Coordinating Council, a feminist student organization, and is supported by the Department of Sociology and the Women, Gender and Sexuality Program. Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee is promoting the event. Amelia Bonow, a founder of the #ShoutYourAbortion movement, and Poppy Liu, who documented her abortion story in a short film, are the guest speakers. At Middle Tennessee State University on Thursday, the Planned Parenthood-affiliated student group Generation Action hosted a screening of Liu’s film and a discussion with the filmmaker. Bonow’s movement was launched two years ago in response to efforts to defund Planned Parenthood after news broke of a baby body part trafficking scandal. Bonow wrote a column for in which she spoke of her own abortion experience. “My abortion made me happy,” she wrote. “It’s perfectly reasonable to feel happy that you were not forced to become a mother. Your life belongs to nobody but you; don’t ever let someone make you feel any other way.” Pro-lifers responded with messages with a  #ShoutYourAdoption hashtag and calls to Shout Your Baby. At Monday’s event, Liu, whose film is called…

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Progressive University of Tennessee-Knoxville Professors Lead Discussion on Privilege and Oppression

Two progressive University of Tennessee-Knoxville professors who endorse critical race theory led a discussion on campus Tuesday about privilege and oppression. The Hodges Library hosted the discussion “to begin dialogue on the topic of racial inequality and other aspects of oppression,” according to The Daily Beacon, the student newspaper. Band-aids matching a person’s skin tone was one example of privilege mentioned at the event, though the newspaper did not say who mentioned it. The event, part of a “Lunch and Learn” series, was open to students and others on campus. “I like to remind folks that we’re living in the legacy of 344 years of overt systemic racism in America,” said Michelle Christian, an assistant professor of sociology, according to The Daily Beacon. “We were systemically racist a lot longer than we supposedly did away with these policies.” Jioni Lewis, an assistant professor of psychology, led the event with Christian. She defined privilege as “unearned access to resources or social power only readily available to some people as a result of their advantaged status or advantaged social group membership.” She defined oppression as “a system that maintains advantage and disadvantage based on social group memberships and operates intentionally, and unintentionally,…

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Mae Beavers Says UT-Knoxville Chancellor Decision to Reinstate Pride Center Shows Disrespect

Tennessee Star

  Conservative Republican Gubernatorial candidate State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) expressed “disappointment” on Friday night in an exclusive interview with The Tennessee Star that the Chancellor of the University of Tennessee – Knoxville, Beverly Davenport, has announced plans to reinstate the Campus Diversity Office and hire a new Director of the LGBT Pride Center despite the Legislature defunding the highly controversial office last year. Earlier in the evening, Beavers, an announced candidate for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, touched briefly on the issue in her remarks to the Cannon County Republican Party Reagan Day Dinner in Woodbury. It was important, Beavers said in her talk, that we uphold the morals of our country as our Founding Fathers intended. She noted that the diversity department at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville had been mired in controversy, and for those reasons had lost significant state funding in the Tennessee General Assembly’s budgeting process. “They got their money back,” Beavers told the crowd of about 125, then added that the administration at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville then proceeded to hire a head of the “Pride Department.” Williamson County businessman Bill Lee, another announced candidate for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, also spoke at the event,…

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University of Tennessee-Knoxville To Decide How To Use Restored State Diversity Funding

Tennessee Star

  A year after the state legislature diverted its diversity funding, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville will see the funding come back July 1, but school officials have yet to decide how to spend it, reports the Knoxville News Sentinel. The school will receive $445,882 in state funding for diversity, an allocation that was used in the past to support the Office for Diversity and Inclusion. Lawmakers voted last year to divert funding to minority engineering scholarships for one year after outcry over Sex Week and the school’s promotion of gender neutral pronouns and discouragement of winter holiday celebrations that include any type of reference to Christmas. The school is still prohibited from using state funds on those particular efforts even though the funding is restored. Earlier this year, some lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to pass a measure that would encourage intellectual diversity on campus and make conservative views more welcome. State Sen. Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) told the News Sentinel that he wishes the university would continue to use the state funding on minority scholarships. Gardenhire sponsored the Senate version of the bill last year. Gardenhire said the Office for Diversity and Inclusion was “giving a horrible reputation to the University of Tennessee and the state.” “I…

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Black Journalist Blames Whites for Child Abuse During UT Knoxville Lecture

Stacy Patton at controversial Feb 28 lecture

A radical black journalist who holds white people responsible for the origins of child abuse spoke at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville on Tuesday despite three academic departments pulling support at the last minute. Stacey Patton titled her lecture “How Killing Black Children is an American Tradition.” Finding the title too provocative, the School of Journalism and Electronic Media, the College of Communication and Information and the College of Child and Family Studies, pulled funding from the speech on Feb. 22, according to the Daily Beacon, the student newspaper. Patton retained the support of several other departments and was introduced at the lecture by the vice chair of Africana Studies. Catherine Luther, director of the College of Journalism and Electronic Media, was quoted in the Daily Beacon as saying the title was not announced until after support was given. She said the title hurt the message, which warrants discussion. Luther said that many Americans have fought to end racial hatred and that “if we relegate killing black children to the position of being ‘an American tradition,’ does that really help us to move toward change?” Patton, a journalism professor at Morgan University in Baltimore and author of the upcoming book Spare the…

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