Video provided by Anonymous Source
Published August 31, 2021
The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
An anonymous source shared cellphone video footage of a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) student being approached by UTC Police and then forcibly removed from class for not complying with the school’s mask mandate.
In the cellphone footage, the student is heard saying “I’ve done nothing wrong.”
The officer states, “They have every right to ask you not to come here.”
Another anonymous source confirmed the individual is a 41-year-old male student at UTC. The Tennessee Conservative reached out to the student for comment.
Also on August 30th, The Tennessee Conservative reached out to UTC Chancellor Steven Angle, several Vice-Chancellors, the UTC Communications and Marketing contact, as well as the UTC Police for comment.
Among others, we asked the questions: Could you provide us with a statement regarding the 41- year- old student that was removed from class by UTC Police for not wearing a mask? Will he be permitted to come back to class? Will he be given a tuition refund if he refuses to follow campus guidelines? Is it true that the student was forcibly removed from class?
Gina Stafford, Interim Vice Chancellor (Division of Communications and Marketing) replied, “While federal law (FERPA) generally prohibits the improper disclosure of personally identifiable information derived from education records, I can confirm for you that UTC police have never arrested a student for a mask violation.”
However, in our communications with the school we never used the word “arrested”. We referred to the event as an “incident”.
The official response of the school currently appears to be side-stepping the issue.
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We reached out to the school again this morning (August 31st) for clarification of their statement, to reiterate our questions and to give them a chance for transparency.
However, they declined further comment.
We have also submitted two Open Records Requests to the UTC Police Department for the bodycam footage of the officer involved along with any and all internal/external communication regarding the event.
Stafford replied to our Open Records request by stating, “The public records request you submitted today to the UTC Police Department is being reviewed and processed. I will contact you again when there is an update on its status or by close of business on Friday, Sept. 3, whichever comes first.”
The Tennessee Conservative will continue to investigate and post updates as new information surfaces.
On August 2nd, the University of Tennessee Chattanooga announced that to start the semester, they will be requiring mask-wearing by the entire campus community, regardless of vaccination status.
On UTC’s website, they outline the possible outcomes for non-compliance with campus COVID policies:
- Students, Student Organizations, and Employees who fail to comply with the requirements of this policy may be subject to disciplinary action.
- Contractors and Visitors who fail to comply with the requirements of this policy may be trespassed from campus either indefinitely or for a defined period of time. The University, as deemed appropriate in its sole discretion, may take other measures against a Contractor or Visitor for non-compliance of the requirements of this policy.
- Non-compliance with any requirements of this policy by Students should be reported to and will be addressed by the Office of Student Conduct.
- Non-compliance with any requirements of this policy by Employees should be reported to and will be addressed by the Office of Human Resources
- Non-compliance with any requirements of this policy by Contractors should be reported to and will be addressed by the contract administrator or the Office of Procurement and Contract Services.
- Non-compliance with any requirements of this policy by Visitors should be reported to and will be addressed by the UTC Police Department.
The same general set of rules also applies to all other UT System schools including: UT Knoxville, UT Institute of Agriculture, UT Chattanooga, UT Martin, UT Southern and the UT Health Science Center.
Clay White said, “This is exactly what you should expect from a government-funded institution. No surprise here.”
Cat French said, “I was at UT Knox yesterday, and some students didn’t have masks on. It does say to wear them but no one said anything that I saw.”
Jane Redmond said, “Making an example of those who buck their rule. Feeding fear among the young to comply. These schools need to be emptied out in these days. The young should reject them for now, standing up for their future as FREE CITIZENS against tyranny by our current institutions who have chosen MONEY over them, over freedom, over their futures.”
About the Author:
Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Directory for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com