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Update on February 17 Event

As I wrote earlier this week, a white supremacist group reserved a space to meet on our campus on Saturday, February 17.

I want to let you know that after consultation between UTPD and senior advisers, we have decided that this group will not be allowed to use McClung Museum due to safety and security concerns. If they decide to gather on our campus anyway, they will be reassigned to Buehler Hall with security restrictions. UTPD has consulted with local, state, and federal law enforcement and assured me this location will provide the safest and most secure environment and minimize disruption to other activities on campus.

I am meeting daily with senior advisers, including law enforcement, as we prepare for a potential gathering. As always, the safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our primary concern. I want to reiterate: We don’t want them here. They were not invited, and they are certainly not welcome.

I appreciate the outpouring of support, suggestions, and sentiments of our campus and the Knoxville community. We will continue to focus on educating and uniting our campus.

We have scheduled a number of events beginning today with United at the Rock Against Racism, beginning at 3:30 p.m. This event is sponsored by the UT Campus Ministers Council, Student Government Association, and Faculty Senate.

On Tuesday, SGA is sponsoring a panel discussion on the upcoming white nationalist event, the hate speech surrounding that group, and how it affects our campus.

On Thursday, I have invited Lecia Brooks, outreach director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, to give a presentation to our campus. Lecia will discuss specific white nationalist groups, their tactics, and how we can stand against hate.

Meanwhile, we will continue to post updates on our free speech website about the February 17 event.

Together, we will unite against racism and hate.

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