University of Tennessee backs down on holiday controversy

(Courtesy: WATE)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The University of Tennessee said the oversight of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s website has been reassigned to Vice Chancellor for Communications Margie Nichols.

The university said they are acknowledging “missteps” in a web posting about holiday party considerations for the university’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said he met with Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion Rickey Hall to discuss broad goals and to determine actions to “prevent further poorly worded communications that deter from making progress on the goals.”

“As an educational institution, it’s our job to listen and to learn. We are sorry that we did not communicate very well. We’ve learned a lesson from this. We want to move forward and to focus on the big picture and our goals for creating and sustaining a learning environment where all community members and all points of view are valued and respected,” Cheek said.

Cheek said the university is taking steps to reiterate its commitment to diversity and inclusion while acknowledging missteps. He also thanked Hall for his leadership.

“We are addressing the obstacles that may arise and take us off course so that we can continue on this important mission,” Cheek said. “While we’ve made great progress, there is still a long way to go.”

An email was also sent by the chancellor to the campus thanking them for their support. He said he was overwhelmed and encouraged by the support from students, faculty and staff.

More: Read a copy of the email

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