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University of Tennessee President J. Wade Gilley has announced a renewed commitment for diversity at UT.

Gilley spoke to students, staff and faculty at a campus forum after a series of incidents, including a student art project that hung ropes tied into nooses from a tree, were questioned by members of the campus community.

Gilley announced a UT policy to promote better sensitivity and understanding between different cultures through civil discourse and understanding.

“We have issued a policy statement on diversity,” Gilley said. “We are committed to that plan and promoting an atmosphere of civility and rightful discourse and with continued recognition of first amendment rights.”

Gilley said that UT seeks to be a champion of diversity.

“We want to champion diversity,” Gilley said. “We want to maximize students educational experience and prepare students to contribute to the global economy.

“UT should increase the number of minorities and international students. We should provide curriculum for all student that fosters understanding and knowledge and ability to effectively work with diverse cultures and language.”

An Open Letter from Gilley to the UT community is available at: http://ur.utenn.edu/president/announcements/art.htm