Building A More Civil, Open And Respectful Society

Thursday, January 27, 2022

At the start of each year we reflect on where we are as a University, and how we can help to solve grand challenges facing the people of Tennessee, our country, and our world – and how we can come together, focus our efforts, and be willing to learn from one another, to truly Be One UT.

But coming together is a challenge in our current culture, where deep-seeded division can be the norm; where vitriol and outrage are often encouraged, and listening and engaging with those who differ from us is considered a sign of weakness. It can be difficult to be open to listening, communicating and even compromising with those that have a different point of view to actually get things done. We need to both model and instruct behavior that is open, civil and respectful so that we can find solutions to tomorrow’s challenges.

Our universities are not immune from this. Our leaders at UT, myself included, are committed to coming together to model a better way. After all, civility is one of Tennessee’s great legacies. The late U.S. Senator Howard Baker said it best, “If we cannot be civil to one another, and if we stop dealing with those with whom we disagree… we would soon stop functioning altogether.”

We live in a vast country and a dynamic state that reflects a wide range of people, interests and ideas. Difference should not mean division, it actually makes us stronger. Our strength comes from our diversity. It is something to be celebrated – not something that divides us.

As president of the University of Tennessee System, our goal is to bring people together to find solutions for real world issues. Unity does not come from an echo chamber of thought, rather a collection of varying viewpoints contemplated to achieve a better understanding of one another so that we may move forward, together. We believe in diversity—of people, thought, opinion and intellectual pursuit. We do not shelter those who do not want to hear and discuss differing points of view. But we also recognize there is an important difference between honoring diversity and promoting one particular ideology over another. There is no singular answer to the challenges we face as a society. As such, the university should never require students or faculty to adopt a specific ideology to be successful on any of our campuses. This is not the role of a university nor is it an effective strategy to prepare our students for the interconnected world they will face upon graduation.

Our great university system was created to serve all of the people of Tennessee. We are accountable to our students and their parents, to the state and nation, and to the taxpayers.

We must take a leadership role in creating a more civil, open and respectful society…and we will.

Randy Boyd
President, The University of Tennessee System


Failure Notice

Gang Vs. Brawl

A Time For Action


As of today, there have been 24 separate acts of gun violence in elementary and secondary schools in the United States. Since the Columbine shootings in 1999, 311,000 children attending 331 ... (click for more)

In 2009 students from McCallie school traveled to Signal Mountain high school where dozens of students engaged in what was immediately labeled a "brawl." A fight breaks out during a graduation ... (click for more)

Hamilton County mayoral and district attorney candidates need to publish a pragmatic plan to protect our children now. Here are some ideas: 1) Better fund, train and equip school resource ... (click for more)



Opinion

Failure Notice

As of today, there have been 24 separate acts of gun violence in elementary and secondary schools in the United States. Since the Columbine shootings in 1999, 311,000 children attending 331 schools have been exposed to gun violence. In addition, 45,000 people died from gun-related deaths in 2020 (54 percent by suicide and 43 percent homicide). How about the following (based ... (click for more)

Gang Vs. Brawl

In 2009 students from McCallie school traveled to Signal Mountain high school where dozens of students engaged in what was immediately labeled a "brawl." A fight breaks out during a graduation of Howard High students and it's immediately labeled "gang." What makes one fight outbreak a "brawl" and the other "gang?" And how was that conclusion decided? Based on what specifics and ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Many Citizens At Walker County Meeting Urge Commissioners To Work Out Differences With Chairman Shannon Whitfield

Many citizens attending a packed meeting of the Walker County Commission on Thursday night urged commissioners to work out their differences with Chairman Shannon Whitfield. A number of those who spoke at the lengthy session said they were concerned about the high cost of adding a county manager and the fact there might be expensive turnover in that position. The meeting did ... (click for more)

Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee To Hear Election Challenges, Including County Mayor, On Friday Night By Zoom

The Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee will hear two election challenges from Hamilton County, including one for the county mayor race, by Zoom on Friday night. Sabrena Smedley is challenging the county mayor contest on grounds of many cross-over votes by Democrats that she said helped Weston Wamp win. The Hamilton County Election Commission has certified ... (click for more)

Sports

Chattanooga State Third Round Bound

A rematch with Wallace State is in the NJCAA cards for Chattanooga State softball after they took care of Snead State in the eliminations second round of the national tournament. Chattanooga State went 54-9, and Wallace State accounted for three of those nine losses. Against Snead State, the Tigers' attack was jump-started by a couple of long balls from their catcher. ... (click for more)

Holland's Heroics - Chattanooga State Advances In NJCAA Tournament

Power pitching, and a two-homer day from fourth-year player Ashlyn Holland, sent Chattanooga State to the second round of the NJCAA tournament. Chattanooga State's softball Tigers dispatched Southern Idaho on Tuesday 5-0. This result from Yuma was in large part thanks to another dominant start from right-handed flamethrower Sam Ryan (21-3), who went the distance and allowed ... (click for more)