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Statement on Appointment of New Provost

The AAUP at the University of Tennessee Knoxville recognizes that we are in an unprecedented time of pandemic and economic uncertainty, due to Covid-19, and social upheaval, due to the senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. Nonetheless, we are concerned at the recent appointment of a new provost without any faculty input. The new provost is not an interim provost but seems to be a permanent appointment. According to Section 1.9 of the Faculty Handbook, faculty should have a role in the selection of university administrators. Section 1.9 references a search advisory committee and presupposes that faculty will be involved in the search process. This procedure was not followed. We ask that the UT administration revise the new appointment to an interim position or at least limit the years of service for this appointment. We also ask that the administration follow the agreed upon protocols of shared governance for all future appointments. Such appointments should have a clear search process with appropriate input from faculty and staff. We are all invested in the future of the University of Tennessee and the future is brighter if we work together. Shared governance is at the heart of a healthy university, especially during these times.