Excerpt: The University of Memphis has canceled a recent grant for its social justice programming, formed in August 2020, after Gov. Bill Lee expressed concerns about the latest initiative, according to a statement from the governor's office. The program has 14 groups focused on improving academic outcomes for students of color, retaining faculty of color and improving pay equity, as well as minority business contracting and creating diverse, equitable and inclusive coursework.
The status of the entire programming is unclear. University of Memphis officials did not respond to requests for information as of Wednesday afternoon. In response to follow-up inquiries requesting what concerns Lee had about U of M's program, what he was told was canceled, and whether he believed academic freedom should be protected at Tennessee universities, Casey Black, spokesperson for the governor's office, said U of M "informed our office that the grant program is no longer active. We don’t have anything further to add about a now-defunct program."