Berry College Settles Disputes Over Tennessee Billboards

Monday, October 28, 2013

Berry College has settled its legal dispute with the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) over its right to advertise in that state. The dispute was over billboards in the Nashville area that showed two Berry students on the campus with the college’s name and the phrase “26,000 Acres of Opportunity.” 

 

THEC had sought to make Berry pay large fees not charged to Tennessee private colleges in order to advertise in Tennessee.

THEC officials had asserted that placing the billboards in Tennessee constituted conducting educational activity in that state. Berry has no campuses in Tennessee and does not offer distance or online education.

 

The settlement provides a waiver of the THEC rules for advertising and solicitation because Berry meets the same standards required of Tennessee colleges.

 

“We are very pleased that the settlement agreement provides exactly the resolution we were looking for, and grateful to the Tennessee Attorney General’s office for working with us in good faith to address our concerns about the Tennessee law and its application,” said Berry President Steve Briggs.   “It is important that high school students and their families have open access to the information they need to make informed college decisions, and that colleges compete on a level playing field in the market.”

 

After being threatened with fines, Berry sued THEC in May, alleging discriminatory treatment that violated the college’s constitutional rights under the Commerce Clause and its rights of commercial free speech. U.S. District Court Judge Harold Murphy of the Northern District of Georgia dismissed Berry’s lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds in June, agreeing with Tennessee that the suit should instead be in federal court in Tennessee.  Before Berry refiled its suit, the parties entered settlement discussions.

 

More than 200 of Berry’s 2,100 undergraduate students come from Tennessee.

 

“Berry has welcomed students from Tennessee for many decades; Tennessee families are attracted to Berry because of our strong academic program, our amazing campus, our affordability, and our student work experience program, which is the nation’s largest,” Mr. Briggs said.

 


Lee Partners With IRS To Provide Free Tax Prep

The Business Department at Lee University will partner with the Internal Revenue Service’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program once again to offer free tax preparation on Tuesday and Thursday evenings Feb. 5-April 9.  IRS-certified junior and senior accounting students will provide assistance at the Walker Memorial Building in Room 101 from 6-8 p.m. by appointment. This ... (click for more)

Chattanooga State Presents National HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Events

Chattanooga State’s Community Health Institute presents National HIV/AIDS Awareness Day featuring Jamar Rogers, former finalist of NBC’s The Voice, on Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 10 a.m. in the Humanities Theatre. The program includes exhibits with giveaways, free and confidential on-site HIV/STD testing, HIV resource information and refreshments. The program is offered in partnership ... (click for more)

Chance Loftis Set To Be Freed From Jail After Jury Finds Him Guilty Of Only Misdemeanor Charge

Chance Loftis is set to be freed from jail on Monday after a Criminal Court jury on Friday afternoon found him guilty of only a minor charge. Instead of murder in the death of 46-year-old Donald Rogers, the jury in the courtroom of Judge Don Poole found him guilty of the lesser charge of reckless endangerment. He was found not guilty of aggravated animal cruelty in the beating ... (click for more)

1 Dies In House Fire In Rhea County

Rhea County Fire Department officials said one person died in an early-morning house fire on Saturday. The call came at about 6:30 a.m. The brick residence is on Fisher Road. S tate arson investigators were on their way. (click for more)

It's Time To Insure Tennessee - And Response

Tennessee has a problem.  What is the value of saving the lives of 1,000 Tennesseans each year? That is exactly what can be expected if 176,000 Tennesseans gain health insurance through Insure Tennessee. A New England Journal of Medicine study showed that expansion of Medicaid was associated with a 6% reduction in yearly mortality for people in the 34-65 age group. Statistically, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: What About The Ashes?

I attended my fifth funeral in the month of January the other day and, while I wish a lot of my friends would hang around a little longer, I was amused by the conversation in the pew before the service began. The question was “ … then what do you do with the ashes?” More and more people are being cremated and asking their loved ones to scatter their ashes -- more properly called ... (click for more)