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Supporting the Austin-East Community

Dear students, faculty and staff,

Our hearts ache for the family of Anthony Thompson Jr., and we grieve alongside members of the Austin-East community who have been shaken by yet another unspeakable tragedy.

Austin-East Magnet High School is an important and vibrant part of both the Knoxville community and our UT community. It is a UT Flagship school, and we have Austin-East graduates in our classrooms. Austin-East graduates and parents are members of our faculty and staff. Our students work in Austin-East classrooms as student teachers. Our partnership with Austin-East is important to us, as are their students, families, and leaders. We will do all we can to support them as they work through their pain and grief.

UT also has a role in supporting efforts to enact change and bring healing to our community. We have several long-standing partnerships with the school and will look for additional ways we can use university resources to meet the needs of Austin-East students and community members. I ask each of you to support Austin-East in any way you can. The Commission for Blacks has pulled together specific steps anyone can take and will be communicating them widely.

We have support and resources available to help members of the campus community process this tragedy. Students who are experiencing distress or need help can call our care team at 865-974-HELP (4357) or visit the 974-HELP website. Faculty and staff who are in distress can call 865-946-CARE (2273).

Please take care of yourselves and one another.

Donde Plowman
Chancellor