University of Tennessee

Fundraising effort seeks to finance UT Knoxville LGBT center without state money

An effort called “Vol Means All” is underway to fully fund operations at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s LGBT student center without government support, according to Out and About in Nashville. The first official fundraiser will be Feb. 1 in Nashville with UT-Knoxville Chancellor Beverly Davenport on hand.

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Haslam: No interest in becoming UT president, just in downsizing board

While pitching his plans for downsizing the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees to Knox County legislators, Gov. Bill Haslam declared he has no interest in becoming UT president after leaving office next year, reports Victor Ashe in his weekly column.

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Haslam eyes downsizing UT board, changing leader selection process

Gov. Bill Haslam is considering reducing the number University of Tennessee Board of Trustees, reports Nashville Ledger. Lt. Gov. Randy McNally  says the governor is also eyeing changes in the process for selecting a new UT president or the chancellors who head individual UT campuses.

Haslam spokeswoman Jennifer Donnals declined to address specifics Friday but said “the governor is having conversations about ways to help the UT Board of Trustees operate more efficiently and effectively.”

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UT puts cap on salaries paid administrators who shift to teaching

The University of Tennessee is putting new limits on “retreat salaries,” payments to former administrators when they take a teaching job after retirement, reports the News Sentinel.

Under the old policy, former administrators could be paid 75 percent of their previous salary after moving to faculty positions – in some cases far more than any other professor in an academic department. Under the new policy, former administrators will be limited to a maximum of 125 percent of salary paid to top professor in a department  — except in special cases.

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Former UT football operations director pleads guilty to official misconduct charge

The former director of football operations for the University of Tennessee has pleaded guilty to a charge of official misconduct for faking receipts to account for his expenditure of cash advances, reports the News Sentinel. Chris Spognardi, 32, pleaded guilty Thursday before Knox County Criminal Court Judge Scott Green.

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Politicians cheer appointment of Fulmer as UT athletic director

Tennessee politicians are generally praising the appointment of former head football coach Phil Fulmer as athletics director at the University of Tennessee, reports the News Sentinel, but some are also voicing concerns about the future of the state’s flagship campus in Knoxville.

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UT to accept ACT test scores despite administrative foul-up

Press release from Lt. Gov. Randy McNally

Lt. Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) today announced the University of Tennessee has agreed to accept scores from the October 17 mis-administered ACT tests at Bearden High School and Alvin C. York Institute in Jamestown. The University’s decision was delivered to Lt. Governor McNally by University of Tennessee Interim Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor John Zomchick.  Continue reading

UT trustees donate to Republicans; faculty and staff to Democrats

Members of the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees have made more than $90,000 in political donations so far this year in federal-level campaigns, reports the UT Daily Beacon after a search of FEC data. All but $2,500 went to Republicans while UT staff and students collectively gave $38,000 with only about $1,500 to Republicans.

Ten of the board’s 25 members made political contributions.

In total, (board) members gave $5,900 to Tennessee Republican John Rose, a candidate for the 6th Congressional District; $5,400 to 7th Congressional Republican Representative Marsha Blackburn, a senatorial candidate; and $1,500 to Knoxville County Mayor Tim Burchett, Republican candidate for the 2nd Congressional District.

(Raja) Jubran, who served on Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s 2010 campaign finance team prior to his appointment to the Board of Trustees in 2012, has donated $59,200 to candidates and political committees this year, making him the largest donor on the board. Haslam, an ex-officio board member, has made $52,700 in political contributions.

On the other hand, employees at UT, including faculty, staff and graduate students, have made 2,311 contributions this year, totaling over $38,000. In contrast to the Board of Trustees, only $1,578.75 of these donations were made to organizations affiliated with the Republican Party.

TN politicans join fans in shooting down Schiano as UT head football coach; Haslam concerned about ‘rush to judgment’

State legislators and Tennessee gubernatorial candidates joined fans in a revolt that apparently derailed a tentative deal for making Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano the University of Tennessee’s next head football coach, according to media reports.

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Burchett offered check (declined) and apology (accepted) after Saudi teen’s attack

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, a candidate for the 2nd Congressional seat being vacated by Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan, was one of several motorists who came under attack from a Saudi Arabian citizen who recently enrolled at the University of Tennessee to study nursing, reports the News Sentinel. The youth’s lawyer says he suffered “an unexpected mental breakdown” in the episode, which warrants say involved pounding on cars and grabbing at the drivers as they passed him on a street near the UT Knoxville campus.

“Did they screen this guy at all for mental health issues?” Burchett said Friday of 19-year-old Nofl Hassan Alatyah. “I’m not getting any answers, and I’m very frustrated.”

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