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AAUP Board Members Speak Out about Divisive Concepts Law

On October 3-4, 2022, dozens of tenure-track faculty at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will advise their students that the teaching done on those days, based on their normal curriculum, may be interpreted as being in violation of Tennessee Public Chapter 818. Chapter president, Todd Freeberg and Chapter communications director, Donna Braquet were on the public panel discussion of the law, its history, and impact on Monday, October 3rd, from 5:30-7:30pm in Room 272B of the Student Union on the UT Campus.

AAUP Statement regarding CAS split

06 September 2022  Chancellor Donde Plowman and Senior Vice Chancellor and Provost John Zomchick are proposing to split up the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) into a College of Natural Sciences (and Math) and a College of Liberal Arts (without Natural Sciences and Math). At a series of “engagement opportunities” in recent weeks, their intent to pursue this plan has become increasingly strong – despite important arguments against the plan from faculty input. Because shared governance is foundational to the American Association of University Professors, we argue against splitting up the CAS on this ground.  Shared governance around such a consequential decision requires (1) more… Read More »AAUP Statement regarding CAS split

Request to Chancellor and Provost to Speak Out Against “Divisive Concepts” Bills

Dear Chancellor Plowman and Provost Zomchick: As we are sure you are aware, the Tennessee General Assembly is in the process of passing a law that will greatly impact our ability to teach courses, topics, and issues necessary to educate our students. We believe our students seek the rigor and challenge of courses from our R1, flagship, land-grant institution because our curriculum not only prepares them for successful careers, but also offers them an expanded understanding of the world in which they live. Bills like SB2290/HB2670 will have a severe chilling effect on what is taught and discussed in the classroom. The bill allows for… Read More »Request to Chancellor and Provost to Speak Out Against “Divisive Concepts” Bills

Sample Email to Chancellor Plowman

To: Chancellor@utk.eduCC: Dear Chancellor Plowman: I am a _______ working/teaching in _________ department. I am concerned about Covid because _______. Therefore, I agree with the five requests put forth by the UTK Chapter of the AAUP in their letter to you on January 6, 2022. 1. We request that staff be allowed to work remotely, whenever possible, to decrease their likelihood of Covid infection and transmission;  2. We request that all staff who are required to work on campus be provided with 10 free N95 masks each month;  3.  We request that UT pivot to virtual teaching modalities for all lecture courses in order… Read More »Sample Email to Chancellor Plowman

Letter to campus from Chancellor Plowman

Office of the Chancellor January 7, 2022 Colleagues, I hope everyone has had a restful break and happy start to the new year. As you know, we are beginning the year with a rise in COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant. We are watching community health conditions closely. Fortunately, the addition of the winter mini-term has already pushed back the start of classes to January 24. While a lot can change between now and then, we want to provide an update: Course modality. We intend to maintain scheduled face-to-face modality. One of the things we have learned in the past two years is that face-to-face… Read More »Letter to campus from Chancellor Plowman

Response from the Chancellor’s Office

Dr. Howes, Thank you for the e-mail to Chancellor Plowman. Shortly, you should expect to receive an e-mail that is being sent to the campus about the current plans for the spring semester. I will make sure that members of the campus Policy Group receive your group’s input for consideration in ongoing management decisions. Matthew Scoggins Chief of Staff Office of the Chancellor 533 Andy Holt Tower 1331 Circle Park Drive Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 (865) 974-2356 (office direct) (865) 599-5679 (cell) 

Letter to Plowman regarding Omicron and Campus Safety

Sent: Thursday, January 6, 2022 4:20 PMTo: Chancellor Donde Plowman <>Subject: Letter from local AAUP regarding Covid safety on campus   It takes people who listen and learn and put others first. People who pull together and push each other to new heights…and it takes something inside all of us, something that drives us to do better for ourselves, for each other. Because obstacles are opportunities. Challenges bring change. And we know that those who are willing to step forward will be ready for whatever lies ahead. It takes courage to light the way. It takes a Volunteer. – UT Admissions Video  6 January 2022 … Read More »Letter to Plowman regarding Omicron and Campus Safety

Response from Chancellor’s Office

Scoggins, MatthewFri 12/3/2021 5:41 PM Dr. McAlpin, This acknowledges your e-mail to Chancellor Plowman. The issues you raised have been addressed by the administration in previous campus communications, including the e-mail from the Chancellor on Wednesday in which she outlined the constraints placed on the University as a result of Tennessee law and the preliminary injunction against enforcement of the applicable federal executive order. As we have throughout the pandemic, we will continue to monitor and respond appropriately to changes in local and campus health conditions and the legal landscape. Matthew Scoggins Chief of Staff Office of the Chancellor 533 Andy Holt Tower 1331 Circle… Read More »Response from Chancellor’s Office

Letter to Chancellor Plowman Regarding Masks

The following was just sent (Friday 12.3.21 around 10:30 am) to Chancellor Plowman and Provost Zomchick on behalf of UCW and the UTK AAUP: Dear Chancellor Plowman, We are writing to request that the UT Knoxville campus follow CDC guidelines regarding masking indoors, reinstate the mask mandate, and allow those who can to work remotely, immediately, in the interest of keeping our campus safe from COVID. The CDC currently recommends that everyone in areas of substantial or high transmission wear a mask in public indoor places, even if they are fully vaccinated. Moreover, in Knox County, the CDC reports that the average positivity rate is 8.22%… Read More »Letter to Chancellor Plowman Regarding Masks