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The Commission for Blacks is a body appointed by the Chancellor to advise on planning, implementation, and evaluation of university programs, policies, and services as they relate to Black students, faculty and staff. The Commission reports to the Office of the Chancellor.

The Commission for Blacks recommends changes in or additions to university policies and procedures to reflect concerns specific to blacks. The group also makes suggestions for new and existing academic and extracurricular programs related to blacks; encourages research to identify the problems and progress of blacks on campus; and encourages black faculty, staff and student involvement in all aspects of campus life.

CFB Rally Statement, Resources, and Counter-Events

The Commission for Blacks is committed to the protection and retention of Black and African American students, faculty, and staff at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The Commission for Blacks seeks to enhance the campus racial climate and provide a space where a civil discourse around issues of race, racism, and biases can occur in our roles as faculty, staff, and students. We stand in solidarity with colleagues at the University of Virginia as they strive to offer a civil and secure climate to their campus community in the aftermath of violent protests spurred by White supremacy, racism, anti-semitism, and racial hatred.

We join the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in condemning racism in all its forms and will work with others throughout the campus and the nation in the call to eradicate hate, injustice, and racial violence. We remind everyone as to the importance of using our educational institutions as a means of “studying, analyzing, and broadly communicating about” patterns and structures associated with White supremacy, racism, antisemitism, religious persecution, homophobia, and xenophobia. As scholars at UTK continue to contribute to our understanding of the inequities within our educational institutions, we will support the dissemination of the “knowledge and evidence” that supports “understanding and respect of others” while disrupting “the divisive patterns of disparity and denigration.” The Commission for Blacks sets as our goal for UTK that “No one should leave our classrooms or campuses believing that the symbols of oppression and killing are mere logos.”


Local Mental Health Resources:

For Students:

University of Tennessee Student Health Counseling Center (865) 974-2251

For Faculty/Staff:

Employee Assistance Program (855) 437-3486

For Everyone:

Surviving and Resisting Hate: A Toolkit

List of Educational Resources:

The Charlottesville Syllabus

UTK Africana Studies Program Statement

AERA Statement on the Hateful Acts in Charlottesville

Call for Membership

CFB LogoIf you are interested in being a part of the Commission for Blacks (CFB), we invite you complete the online membership interest form for the 2016-2017 academic year.

The Commission consists faculty, staff, students, and external community members. Members are appointed by the Chancellor on an annual basis.

If you are a currently serving member of the commission and have an interest in continuing your membership with the Commission or if you are interested in getting involved with the Commission for the first time, please complete the form for consideration for membership appointment on the Commission. Deadline for submitting the membership interest form is May 15, 2016.

2017-18 Trailblazer Award Series: Spruell Driver, Jr.

On January 23, 2018 the Commission for Blacks will present the 2nd African American Trailblazer Award of the 2017-18 year to Dr. Andre Temple.

Andre is a native of Memphis, Tennessee and a graduate of Memphis Central High School Class of 1992.  In 1996 and 2000, he received a Bachelor’s of Science in Public Administration and an MBA from The University of Tennessee at Martin.  As a Principle Planner with the State of Tennessee Economic and Community Development and member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), he assisted several West Tennessee municipalities and county governments in the areas of both short and long-term growth and land use comprehensive planning.

After receiving an Ed.D. from the University of Memphis (2008), he joined The University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service (UTIPS) where he has served as an Economic Development Specialist and currently, an Industrial Solutions Consultant.  As an Economic Development Specialist, he developed curriculums and facilitated new and best practices to regional and local economic developers across the State. As an Industrial Consultant, he works with regional industries in the areas of training with the sole effort of remaining competitive in today’s global market.   He was recognized with both the UTIPS Pinnacle Award and Vice Presidential Citation Recognition Award for his collaborative work with the Tennessee Basic Economic Development Program and The Industrial Leadership and Supervisory Program for manufacturers.  Andre also serves as adjunct faculty for Union University and University of Phoenix.

Community involvement includes volunteering with the American Red Cross, Jackson Arts Council, Jackson Affordable Housing CDC, Jackson Housing Authority, Leadership Jackson, Southwest Human Resource Agency, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, UTM Alumni Council, UTM Jackson Center Advisory Board, WestStar Leadership Alumni, and West TN United Way.

The Trailblazer Award is dedicated to recognizing and honoring the accomplishments of African Americans affiliated with the University of Tennessee that are trailblazers in their disciplines or within the fields of diversity, inclusion, and social justice. The Office for Diversity and Inclusion and the Commission for Blacks jointly organizes the speaking series.

Click here for more information on the 2017-18 Trailblazer Series.

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