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Letter on Students’ Free Speech

Joint Statement of AAUP@UTK and UTK Chapter of United Campus Workers | February 26, 2021 The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and the UTK Chapter of United Campus Workers (UCW) unequivocally support students’ right to free expression, including the right to protest peacefully. That right is the backbone of any education and any democracy worth the name. We therefore endorse the February 24, 2021 statement by the ETSU Student Government Association affirming the First Amendment rights of student athletes to kneel during the playing of the national anthem. At the same time, we condemn the recent… Read More »Letter on Students’ Free Speech

Chancellor Plowman’s Response to Covid Letter

Dear Dr. Black and executive committee members, I am in receipt of your letter dated January 10, 2021 requesting that the university postpone the return of students until the rate of infection has fallen significantly in our community and state. I would like to share with you the measures that we are taking to protect the health and safety of our community. As we prepare to carry out the university’s mission during the COVID-19 pandemic, our Emergency Operations team and campus leadership are working closely with the County and State Health Departments as we make decisions about campus activities. We also are in close contact… Read More »Chancellor Plowman’s Response to Covid Letter

Letter to Chancellor Plowman and BoT regarding Covid

To Chancellor Plowman and the UT Board of Trustees: We are writing to express our dismay that the UT Knoxville administration is bringing a large number of students back to take classes on campus this spring. As you are of course aware, Knox County was recently declared by the CDC to be the very heart of the global outbreak of COVID-19. Indeed, our county has recently experienced days of its highest death rates due to the pandemic. In addition, as recent news reports make clear, the arrival in Knox County of the far more contagious strain of this virus, recently found in Chattanooga, is imminent.… Read More »Letter to Chancellor Plowman and BoT regarding Covid

Letter to Dr. Buchanan regarding Covid

August 13, 2020 Dr. Martha BuchananSenior Director and Public Health OfficerKnox County Board of Health140 Dameron AvenueKnoxville, TN 37917-6413 Dear Dr. Buchanan, We call upon the Knox County Board of Health to acknowledge the public health emergency that will soon be precipitated by the return to campus of thousands of students under the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Fall 2020 plan for in-person instruction. We further call upon you to strongly recommend that the University move to fully online instruction for some or all of the fall semester, or until such time as the infection rate in the county is under sufficient control. With respect for… Read More »Letter to Dr. Buchanan regarding Covid

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… Read More »Statement on Appointment of New Provost

Statement of Solidarity with Ohio State Faculty

May 6, 2020 The University of Tennessee, Knoxville chapter of the American Association of University Professors stands in solidarity with the faculty of Ohio University. In recent days, we have learned that dozens of OU faculty and staff have been laid off amidst a budgetary crisis aggravated — but not initiated — by COVID-19. It is particularly disturbing that the OU administration chose to begin faculty layoffs in the departments of African-American Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. As this situation evolves, and announcements of further cuts are made, a preponderance of those cuts seems to take aim at humanities departments — English, history,… Read More »Statement of Solidarity with Ohio State Faculty

Letter to Chancellor Plowman regarding Faculty control of Teaching Modality

Dear Chancellor Plowman, We are the executive committee of the UTK Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). We write to seek clarification for some of the remarks President Randy Boyd made at the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees Meeting on April 24, 2020. In briefing board members about UT’s response to Covid-19, President Boyd lauded the hard work of the UT community during the transition to online learning. President Boyd correctly recognized that all UTK professors have been working tirelessly to engage with and educate our students online. We also note that the UT administration has thus far done an excellent… Read More »Letter to Chancellor Plowman regarding Faculty control of Teaching Modality

Response to EPPR BoT Proposal

March 1, 2018 Faculty recently learned of a proposed BOT policy change that has the potential to affect tenure at UT radically. The proposal (quoted in full below) dramatically expands a current and recently approved policy on Enhanced Post-Tenure Review (EPPR) without justification or explanation. The proposal begins by affirming “the importance of tenure in protecting academic freedom and thus promoting the University’s principle (sic) mission.” However, faculty are concerned that in practice this new policy would seriously erode tenure, with negative consequences for our students, our ability to recruit top-level faculty, and our national rankings and reputation. Our concerns about the proposal fall under… Read More »Response to EPPR BoT Proposal

Roundtable on Academic Freedom

On Wednesday, November 18th, our chapter held a roundtable discussion on legislative pressure on faculty expression. Despite inclement weather the meeting was well attended and productive. Much of it centered on name and pronoun accommodation in our classes and the chilling effect of comments by Tennessee legislators on our campus discussion of this issue. This included the censorship (removal from UT website without the author’s permission) of thoughtful suggestions for faculty on inclusive practice.On Wednesday, November 18th, our chapter held a roundtable discussion on legislative pressure on faculty expression. Despite inclement weather the meeting was well attended and productive. Much of it centered on name… Read More »Roundtable on Academic Freedom

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