Press Release: Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion Take Over the University of Tennessee, Report Finds

National Association of Scholars

New York, NY; August 16, 2022 – The National Association of Scholars (NAS) has released a new report examining the implementation of the Diversity Action Plans at the University of Tennessee (UT). The Anatomy of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Takeover: A Case Study of the University of Tennessee finds that the University of Tennessee’s series of plans further entrench the dominance of diversity, equity, and inclusion, espousing an ideology that makes narrow identity categories a central learning objective.

The Diversity Action Plans institute a far-reaching curriculum overhaul for every academic department and espouse an unmistakably ideological orientation. Additionally, the plans make Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) an effective litmus test for professional advancement. Four departments at the University of Tennessee require or recommend DEI statements from faculty job applicants. Several departments go further, requiring or recommending DEI as a formal requirement for tenure and promotion.

“The University of Tennessee’s Diversity Action Plans are nothing short of a blueprint for an institutional overhaul,” said report author and NAS Research Associate John Sailer. “Such a takeover will have obvious implications for education at the University of Tennessee. True education will erode. Indoctrination will flourish. These plans, moreover, reveal in extensive detail what an exhaustive diversity, equity, and inclusion program looks like and how they will affect UT well into the future. Thus our report provides a case study in the rolling revolution underway in academia.”

For faculty members, the message is clear: DEI is integral to professional advancement. As a result, DEI programming will likely continue to grow at the University of Tennessee—even beyond what is mandated in the Diversity Action Plans. Meanwhile, faculty who dissent from the mainstream orthodoxy on diversity, inclusion, or social justice will be faced with a dilemma. Either they will lose out on opportunities for professional advancement—including, at least in some cases, tenure—or they must hide their dissent and display an active commitment to an ideological framework that they privately reject.

“Taken together, the Diversity Action Plans make DEI a new de facto core curriculum, and beyond that, In many cases, they make diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts—however defined—a condition for employment,” continued Sailer. “The University of Tennessee has truly outlined the anatomy of a diversity, equity, and inclusion takeover.”

Elected leaders, parents, and students must be aware of the takeover happening at the University of Tennessee and public institutions of higher learning who may replicate its model.

NAS is a network of scholars and citizens united by a commitment to academic freedom, disinterested scholarship, and excellence in American higher education. Membership in NAS is open to all who share a commitment to these broad principles. NAS publishes a journal and has state and regional affiliates. Visit NAS at


If you would like more information about this issue or about the National Association of Scholars, please contact Chance Layton at [email protected].

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