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.


Learning Blade Announces "Hack Attack" Computer Science Mission

Chattanooga-based Thinking Media’s Learning Blade announced the new “Hack Attack” Computer Science Mission to over 400 attending the Arkansas Public School Resource Center (APSRC) Annual Conference in Hot Springs this week. Arkansas has led the nation by the passage of Computer Science Education and Jobs Act of 2015, which provides computer coding classes to all Arkansas high ... (click for more)

Baylor Elects 2016-17 Honor Council

Members of Baylor's 101st Honor Council have been elected for the 2016-17 school year.  They are Trey Freeman '18, Annie Dethero '17, Alison Anderson '17, Lauren King '17, David Thompson '17, Ashton Jenne '17, Kristopher Kennedy '19, Connor Duffy '20, Chase Radpour '20, Jonyca Jiao '19, Sarah Talley '18, Matthew Davis '18, Alex Robinson '19 and Mats Pokela '18.  ... (click for more)

Fire Displaces Family Of 7; Blaze Ruled Accidental

No injuries were reported in connection with a house fire on Saturday afternoon that displaced a family of seven. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at 4:11 p.m. and responded to 3308 Dodson Ave. with five fire companies. Captain Wadie Suttles with Engine 4 said heavy fire was showing when the first firefighters arrived on the scene. As additional firefighters ... (click for more)

Clarence Ross, Leshawn Witherow Shot On Walden Avenue Friday Afternoon

Chattanooga Police are investigating a shooting that happened early Friday afternoon at the 6300 block of Walden Avenue.  Clarence Ross, 41, And Leshawn Witherow, 40, suffered non-life threatening injuries.  Hamilton County EMS transported both victims to a local hospital for treatment.  There is no suspect information at this time.  Investigators with ... (click for more)

Where Is The Speed Control On Our Highways? - And Response (2)

I am teaching my 15-year-old to drive in the North Georgia and Chattanooga area. I have warned her of the dangers of exceeding the speed limit both as a hazard to herself and in terms of receiving a ticket. What a liar I am.  Have you driven on the local freeways and highways recently? I never see any highway patrolmen helping to reduce speeding or pulling over those who ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Testerman Forum

I badly misjudged how long it would take me to do my “early voting.” I was in-and-out in no time so I got to the Hamilton County School Board’s agenda meeting well enough beforehand to have an “educational forum” with board member David Testerman. If you haven’t noticed, forums and summits and “community enlightenment” groups are the new rage and, as my friend David laughed, “They ... (click for more)