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Academic Freedom

AAUP Board Members Speak Out about Divisive Concepts Law

On October 3-4, 2022, dozens of tenure-track faculty at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will advise their students that the teaching done on those days, based on their normal curriculum, may be interpreted as being in violation of Tennessee Public Chapter 818. Chapter president, Todd Freeberg and Chapter communications director, Donna Braquet were on the public panel discussion of the law, its history, and impact on Monday, October 3rd, from 5:30-7:30pm in Room 272B of the Student Union on the UT Campus.

Request to Chancellor and Provost to Speak Out Against “Divisive Concepts” Bills

Dear Chancellor Plowman and Provost Zomchick: As we are sure you are aware, the Tennessee General Assembly is in the process of passing a law that will greatly impact our ability to teach courses, topics, and issues necessary to educate our students. We believe our students seek the rigor and challenge of courses from our R1, flagship, land-grant institution because our curriculum not only prepares them for successful careers, but also offers them an expanded understanding of the world in which they live. Bills like SB2290/HB2670 will have a severe chilling effect on what is taught and discussed in the classroom. The bill allows for… Read More »Request to Chancellor and Provost to Speak Out Against “Divisive Concepts” Bills

New York Times Reports on Chilling Effects of “China Initiative” and Dr. Anming Hu

On November 28, 2021, the New York Times published As U.S. Hunts for Chinese Spies, University Scientists Warn of Backlash.  According to the report, a chilling effect has taken hold on American campuses, contributing to an outflow of academic talent that may hurt the United States while benefiting Beijing.  The trial of Dr. Hu, who worked at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, is being held up as a clear example of government overreach. He was under house arrest for 18 months during the investigation with no job or income, reliant on GoFundMe donations for his legal defense fees. Neighbors and church friends delivered groceries and took out… Read More »New York Times Reports on Chilling Effects of “China Initiative” and Dr. Anming Hu

University of Tennessee at Knoxville faculty call on the school to reinstate Anming Hu

Key faculty leaders at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville are calling on the university to rehire a former professor who was ensnared in a bogus espionage investigation and acquitted in September on fraud-related charges.  Anming Hu, a former tenured professor and nanotechnology expert, has been prosecuted twice by the U.S Department of Justice, which falsely accused Hu of being a Chinese spy and charged him with wire fraud and making false statements. A federal judge threw out all charges on Sept. 9.

University of Tennessee in talks to reinstate professor cleared of hiding ties to Chinese university

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee is in talks to reinstate a former professor and researcher who was cleared of charges he ran a scheme to hide his ties to a Chinese university while doing contract work for NASA, documents show.

UT Knoxville Offers to Reinstate Acquitted Professor

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, offered to reinstate a former tenured professor who was acquitted of fraud-related charges, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported. Faculty members had called for the reinstatement of the professor, Anming Hu, who was terminated from the university after being charged with fraud-related crimes under the auspices of the Department of Justice’s controversial China Initiative for allegedly concealing his affiliation with a Chinese university from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which funded Hu’s research.