GE0004 – Philosophy on Institutional and Leadership Statements

Section 1. Policy Statement

The principal mission of the University of Tennessee is the pursuit and the dissemination of knowledge through teaching, research, and service. To foster this mission, University administrators shall honor the principle of institutional neutrality and refrain from making statements on disputed political, moral, and religious topics. Public statements in the name of the University should be avoided, except where appropriate to address an issue that bears materially and directly on the University’s core mission. The role of the University is to provide an impartial platform for scholarly debate; it is not to pronounce judgment.

A position of institutional neutrality is not intended to limit the speech of the University’s community acting or speaking as individuals in their own names and not in the name of the University. Rather, institutional neutrality allows the University to be a true marketplace of ideas in which students, faculty, and staff have the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, learn, and discuss any issue. However, when acting in a personal capacity as a citizen, an employee of the University speaks publicly or writes for publication, the employee shall take care to ensure that the employee’s statements are not reasonably interpreted as being made on behalf of the University.

Section 2. Responsible Official

Questions about this policy, including questions about whether particular activities are subject to this policy, should be directed to the General Counsel of the University. The email address for the contact is

Policy Details:

GE0004 – Philosophy on Institutional and Leadership Statements
Version: 1 // Effective: January 17, 2024
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