Ousted UT chancellor to get $1.33M in buyout deal

Press release from University of Tennessee

On June 5, the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees Audit and Compliance Committee will consider a recommendation by UT President Joe DiPietro to approve a separation agreement and payment of $1.33 million to former UT Knoxville Chancellor Beverly Davenport.

If approved, her employment with the University will end June 5. No taxpayer dollars, no student tuition or fees, and no donor funds will be used to fund the separation payment.

The payment is a significant reduction of the amount the University would be contractually obligated to pay Davenport if she continues her employment in her tenured faculty position. Davenport’s appointment letter allowed her to return to the faculty in a tenured appointment for an indefinite period of time after serving as chancellor. The University would be obligated to pay her about $2 million in salary and benefits during the first four years of her faculty appointment. Beginning in the fifth year of her faculty appointment, the University would be obligated to pay her an annual salary of $164,632.

“I believe it is important for us to reach this agreement to allow everyone to move forward,” said DiPietro.

In December 2017, the Board approved a policy limiting future return to the faculty salaries to not more than 125 percent of the highest salary of full-time faculty in the department with the same discipline and rank (excluding Governor’s Chairs and other special appointments).

Further from the News Sentinel:

“I believe it is important for us to reach this agreement to allow everyone to move forward,” DiPietro said in the statement.

DiPietro fired Davenport after just over a year into her leadership with a scathing termination letter that cited a litany of grievances he had with her performance on the job, including what he described as poor communication skills as well as a lack of organization, attention to detail and timely follow-up. Still, DiPietro offered to keep Davenport on as a tenured faculty member in the College of Communication and Information.

….Should the settlement be approved, it will be covered by funds from licensing for use of the university’s name and logo as well by interest income, (UT spokeswoman Tiffiny) Carpenter said.

 The university system experienced better-than-expected returns from its investments this year, Carpenter said, and the settlement will be paid off by one-time funding — funding that would likely otherwise be steered into priority projects on campus.

Through the settlement agreement, so long as it’s approved, UT Knoxville will actually be saving money, Carpenter added.

“If (Davenport) had stayed on as a tenured professor, she would have been on payroll and her salary and benefits would have been paid with tuition dollars and state dollars,” Carpenter said.

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