Message from President McPhee RE: New Tennessee Divisive Concepts Act

Dear Campus Community:

As MTSU works to comply with the new Tennessee Divisive Concepts Act, we remain committed to creating a welcoming and supportive environment for all of our students, faculty, and staff. We recognize that the diversity represented within our community makes us stronger and enhances the educational experience for all.

We are aware that concerns have been raised about the law’s implications. It defines and bans divisive concepts, which include race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating, and prohibits the indoctrination of a particular ideology or political viewpoint. The law also prohibits mandatory training that includes one or more of the defined divisive concepts.

One concern voiced is about how it impacts the classroom. The law specifically states that it does not infringe on academic freedom and free speech, two core elements to a vibrant academic environment, or our ability to comply with academic accreditation requirements. As such, the law does not affect the capacity for faculty to lead the dissemination of knowledge in the classroom. In addition, we will continue to protect faculty’s ability to freely engage in teaching, research, scholarship, and creative activity.

Another concern is about the future of our training. We will maintain our training on non-discrimination, equal opportunity, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. We do not anticipate any changes in our current practices other than to ensure that our trainings comply with the law. Respect for diversity, which acknowledges our vast cultures and ways of thinking, remains one of our core community standards.

We want to assure you that MTSU will continue to provide a variety of activities and programs that will provide opportunities for us to share in the cultures, faiths, customs, and traditions that are important parts of all our backgrounds. We will continue to advance our campus as a marketplace of ideas that celebrates the richness of the wide variety of cultures and life experiences reflected in the MTSU community. We are a community of inquiry, not indoctrination, and campus conversations on these topics will enhance our understanding of the proper role of free expression in our society.

For a detailed resource on the law, please visit our divisive concept webpage guide  We encourage you to familiarize yourselves with the information there to help make sure that training content complies with the law.

Thank you for working to make MTSU a community devoted to learning, growth, and service.

Sidney A. McPhee


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