KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Comments made by a University of Tennessee professor during a class lecture were considered antisemitic and have been addressed internally by school leadership, a UT spokesperson said Wednesday.
University Director of News & Information Tyra Haag said in a written statement that a professor made several comments during a class lecture that, “fall within the scope of the working definition of antisemitism developed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.”
Details such as the specific comments or the identity of the involved professor were not released. Haag said that federal laws prevent the university from discussing specific student cases.
Haag added that the university has outlined expectations and concerns with the leadership of the college, who addressed them with the faculty member.
“The university has addressed concerns about a class lecture that included several comments by the instructor that fall within the scope of the working definition of antisemitism developed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance on May 26, 2016. The professor fell short of how instructors should present complex and painful issues in a classroom. While FERPA prevents us from discussing specific student cases, we can say generally that in cases like this we would provide support and resources to any impacted students, and also inform them about their right to file a complaint under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and university policy. We have outlined expectations and concerns with the leadership of the college, who have addressed them with the faculty member. Academic freedom in higher education is critical to ensuring that ideas and knowledge can be fully explored, but academic freedom does not absolve anyone of responsibility to listen with empathy, respect opposing viewpoints, and approach controversial ideas with the seriousness they require. To be clear, there is no place for comments that are or could be construed as antisemitic in any class taught at UT.”Statement shared by UT Director of News & Information Tyra Haag
The working definition of antisemitism established by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in 2016 is, “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”