UT president pushes inclusion while acknowledging 'tension'

Feb 22, 2017

Credit UTK.edu

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro lauded his school system's commitment to diversity while acknowledging "some tension" as UT tries to be more inclusive.

DiPietro said he understood that navigating change can be challenging, but said demographics are changing and students have to be prepared for diverse workplace environments.

DiPietro's remarks were made during the school's second State of the University address.

They come against the backdrop of conservative state lawmakers targeting UT in recent years over diversity initiatives on campus and an annual student-run "Sex Week."

Legislation currently being considered aims to protect the free-speech rights of students with conservative views, something opponents say is already protected on campus.

DiPietro called on the university to be a leader in civility when so many our polarized.