Officials at the University of Tennessee at Martin signed the "Skyhawk Creed" on Friday, Aug. 21, denouncing racial injustice.
UT Martin Chancellor Dr. Keith Carver, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Phillip Acree Cavalier and Interim Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Dr. Mark McCloud represented the university in signing the creed.
Faculty Senate President Dr. Sean Walker, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Andy Lewter and Black Student Association President Kaylin Bailey signed the document as well.
At the vigil, Carver talked about fliers posted on vehicles last year, which depicted racist content. Additionally, some UTM students were criticized this summer after a video surfaced of them making racist comments.
McCloud says since students have the choice to be at UTM, they need to choose to have an open mind.
"We're an educational institution, so we need to learn from diversity, from diverse individuals, and to make those decisions that impact everyone and give everyone a sense of belonging. We don't always have to agree on everything, but we can disagree in a very civil way."
The creed, according to a university press release, is based on "respect," "right choices," and "responsibility."
Carver, McCloud and Cavalier each spoke during the signing, and they highlighted the importance of each value.
They encouraged faculty, students and staff to be civil in discussions and to hold themselves and others accountable.
For more information about the creed, visit UTM's website.