Staff Report NEWS

Interim Chancellor Wayne Davis acknowledged the effects of a white nationalism talk scheduled for Tuesday in an email sent to faculty and mini-term summer students Wednesday.

“White Nationalism: Fact or Fiction,” an event held by Rick Tyler, a former gubernatorial candidate and a former independent candidate for Congress, is scheduled to take place in the Cox Auditorium of the Alumni Memorial Building on May 28 at 6 p.m.

According to a tweet from the Knoxville Radical Alliance, the event, previously scheduled for May 13, was canceled due to a lack of a permit to rent the space on UT's campus.

“The organizer of this event has anti-Semitic and racist viewpoints. He is not being sponsored or hosted by any university-affiliated organization; he is renting space on our campus,” Interim Chancellor Wayne Davis said in the email. “I want to be clear: white nationalism is contrary to our values as a university — racism, anti-Semitism, and bigotry should have no place on Rocky Top.

We care about our staff, faculty, and students. We aspire to create an environment free of hate, prejudice, and bigotry. No one renting space on our campus will stop us from pursuing that aspiration.”

In preparation for the event, Alumni Memorial Building will be closed May 28. UTPD will close Hesler Biology and Nielsen Physics at 2 p.m., with essential research personnel required to contact UTPD for access after that time.

Middle Drive and Circle Drive will close at 4 p.m., and Staff Lot 9 will close to incoming traffic at 4 p.m. Staff who park in these areas may leave at 4 p.m. or park in the White Avenue garage at any time Tuesday without being ticketed.

The email reaffirmed steps being taken to address future incidents of hate speech and resources for students on campus for the summer.

“Hateful rhetoric will not stop us from our work to provide anti-bias education, a review of our policies, and support for all Vols,” Davis said. “We will continue to provide updates on that progress. To our students enrolled in mini-term, we will be providing you with additional information about resources to support you.” 

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