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Behind the Diversity Overhaul at the University of Tennessee

Behind the Diversity Overhaul at the University of Tennessee

“True education will erode. Indoctrination will flourish.”

The National Association of Scholars has been following a major transformation at U. Tennessee, which is being done in the name of diversity. It’s going to change the school.

From the NAS website:

The Anatomy of a Diversity Equity and Inclusion Takeover

“It is critical,” University of Tennessee Chancellor Donde Plowman wrote on June 8, 2020, “that we do not let this moment pass us by but instead do the hard work of addressing our own shortcomings as individuals and a university.”1 She proceeded to ask the University Leadership Council to read How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, while calling for “a meaningful dialogue about the changes we need to see in our university.”

One month later, in a follow-up letter, Chancellor Plowman noted that each unit on campus was developing a Diversity Action Plan.2 While these plans had been under development since the previous year, Chancellor Plowman’s treated them as a way to make good on her promise to address the “systemic racism and injustice prevalent throughout our society.”3

Through a public records request, the National Association of Scholars has acquired a copy of each of these Diversity Action Plans. In the following report, we offer our analysis of the plans, which leave no corner of the university untouched. Every academic college issued a plan—from the Herbert College of Agriculture to the Tickle College of Engineering to the College of Architecture and Design. Likewise, every Vice-Chancellor Unit on campus issued plans, from the Provost’s Office to the Athletics Department. True to Chancellor Plowman’s vision, these colleges and units propose extensive and ideologically-charged reforms.4

We find in these plans nothing short of a blueprint for an institutional overhaul—the anatomy of a diversity, equity, and inclusion takeover. Such a takeover will have obvious implications for education at the University of Tennessee. True education will erode. Indoctrination will flourish. These plans, moreover, reveal in extensive detail what an exhaustive diversity, equity, and inclusion program looks like. Thus, our report provides a case study in the rolling revolution under way in academia.

Key Takeaways

  • The Diversity Action Plans institute a far-reaching curriculum overhaul for every academic department. Departments in the university have adopted measures that will substantially alter the way students are taught. These measures include instituting DEI course audits; DEI curriculum audits; mandatory DEI statements on course syllabi; required DEI learning outcomes; a new minor in social justice; “critical consciousness” assessments; and new required courses on diversity, inclusion, and intercultural “fluency”—to name only a few.
  • The plans espouse an unmistakably ideological orientation. This includes explicit endorsement of critical race theory. The School of Social Work, for example, commits to inserting “critical race theory” into its curriculum. Meanwhile, the Division of Diversity and Engagement and the Office of Research and Engagement both commit to working with the Critical Race Collective, a campus group that “strive[s] to bring a critical race theoretical perspective to the University of Tennessee.” (UTK leadership only abandoned the Critical Race Collective after it was reported on by The College Fix.)
  • The plans make DEI an effective litmus test for professional advancement. Four departments require or recommend DEI statements from faculty job applicants. Several departments go further, requiring or recommending DEI as a formal requirement for tenure and promotion. The Tickle College of Engineering demands “explicit consideration of DEI work in annual performance reviews and promotion and tenure recommendations.” Such measures will further silence any dissent from faculty members; pushing back against DEI programming will display a lack of commitment to the very values that faculty members are required to promote.


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The Gentle Grizzly | August 17, 2022 at 8:16 am

As a Tennessee resident and taxpayer, I am not liking this one single solitary bit.

    You Tennessee taxpayers need to raise hell with your elected representatives, who must pass a university budget that requires the university to eliminate this ideological indoctrination.

    As a past Tennessee resident and taxpayer, I’m disappointed as well. When I lived in Farragut, I could hear the crowd and see the lights at Neyland Stadium from my home many miles away. I thought it was a lot of fun. Were I there now, I wouldn’t care.

    If (when?) this crap starts at Auburn or ‘Bama, it’ll be time to move to Costa Rica. I have a distant relative there in the construction industry. Maybe he’ll build a house for me.

“While these plans had been under development since the previous year, Chancellor Plowman’s treated them as a way to make good on her promise to address the ‘systemic racism and injustice prevalent throughout our society.'”

So how do we fix that? Inject systemic racism and its resultant injustice into the university, of course!

College is supposed to be about reflective thought and discussion, not indoctrination.

Kendi is the Pied Piper of systemic racism. Adding it, not repairing it.