KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Dozens of University of Tennessee students held a march Tuesday to demand change from an administration they said hasn’t done enough to help marginalized students.
UT Diversity Matters spokeswoman Colleen Ryan told The Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/2e35UQn ) that the more than 100 students marched to get the attention of school officials who she said haven’t done enough over the past year to confront issues on campus.
Among those issues include the vandalism of flags at the UT Pride Center, and a UT law professor’s “run them down” tweet, in reference to demonstrators who blocked the streets in Charlotte, North Carolina, during protests following last month’s fatal shooting of a black man by police.
“The last year has been really hard for marginalized students on campus, and we’ve seen a lack of response from the administration addressing the root causes of that sort of violence,” Ryan said.
Groups of students no longer feel safe on campus, the coalition said in statement released before the march.
“Marginalized students do not feel safe, yet our university continues to allow and, in their silence and inaction, encourage this environment of hostility,” the statement said.
UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek met with and walked behind the protesting students during the march.
“I think everyone has the freedom of speech and the First Amendment, and we certainly support that completely,” Cheek said. “And I’m just here to listen to what they say.”
Ryan said her group wants to see required sensitivity training and quicker responses from administration when acts of violence or intimidation occur on campus.
Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com