UT System President Randy Boyd: ‘UT can be a beacon of light’

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‘During difficult times, our University can be a beacon of light to the rest of the world when it comes to civility and respect.’

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – In light of the recent protests and rallies for the death of George Floyd across the state of Tennessee and the country, University of Tennessee System President Randy Boyd says, “UT can be a beacon of light.”

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“Racism – a word that has divided our country and our world for decades. As we’ve watched the nation’s events unfold in the recent wrongful death of George Floyd, our hearts are deeply grieved. So many in our country are asking the important question, “What can we do?””

UT System President Randy Boyd

Boyd poses the question: ‘What can we do?’

Boyd lays out a call to action of, “What we can do,”:

  • What can we do? We can learn. We can actively listen from not only our friends of color, but from people of every background, ethnicity, nationality, religion and culture to understand the unique challenges and struggles they endure. We must understand their truth and learn from it.
  • What can we do? We can lead. Every campus and institute in our 95-county state can lead with love and help ensure everyone who steps on our campuses is treated with respect, fairness, dignity, compassion and care.
  • What can we do? We can act and advocate. At the University of Tennessee, we have the power to enact change. We have a responsibility to do our part to recognize hate, condemn it wholeheartedly and work to eradicate racism once and for all. 

Boyd also commends the chancellors, vice chancellors, deans and others across the university for their leadership and outspokenness against the death of George Floyd, and racism as a whole.

“They are developing, strengthening or building upon plans to better address diversity and inclusion in order to make a meaningful difference on their campus and in their community. I look forward to sharing more about our campus response as plans further develop.”

UT System President Randy Boyd

Boyd also pledges to students across the state, recent graduates and alumni around the world that the University of Tennessee will continue to faithfully act and persistently advocate for change.

“We must share in our victories and lock arms around our challenges. We must realize we are much better together than we could ever be separately. We must acknowledge our differences, but then use those differences to make us stronger. We must know that success cannot be ultimately measured from graduation rates, funding increases or statistics, but instead on how we develop our future leaders who will provide hope to our next generation.”

UT System President Randy Boyd

He hopes that students, faculty, staff, alumni and more that together they can demonstrate to the world the Tennessee way.

“We are hurting alongside our nation, but we must do more than hurt. We must commit to change. We must take action and do – and, we have much to do.”

UT System President Randy Boyd


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