University of Tennessee

Rally at UT brings 45 white nationalists, 250 protesters, 200 law enforcement officers

About 45 white nationalists showed up for a Saturday rally on the University of Tennessee Knoxville campus that was led by Matthew Heimbach, leader of a group known as Traditionalist Worker Party, reports the News Sentinel. So did 250 people protesting white nationalists and about 200 law enforcement officers from four different agencies.

There were no arrests, though six people were issued tickets for obstructing a highway during the protests, according to University of Tennessee Police Chief Troy Lane.

“I have repeatedly said they weren’t invited,” said UT Chancellor Beverly Davenport afterward. “We didn’t want them here. I certainly didn’t want them to come here. This is not a place that stands for hate and bigotry and prejudice. I’ve said that before and I’ll say it again.”

Heimbach is co-founder of the TWP and spent more than two hours talking to the roughly 45 people gathered with him on Saturday about his vision for a whites-only state where the purpose of women is “to have and raise children” and homosexuality is grounds for capital punishment.

Meanwhile, protesters assembled at the Humanities Amphitheater for a “No Nazis on Rocky Top” event organized by the UTK Progressive Student Alliance.

Despite a cold rain, the group later spread across campus, with many choosing not to enter a secure demonstration area police had set up outside Ayres Hall.

The crowd was a motley crew of students, faculty and local residents wielding fabric banners and poster board signs that read “no nazis in knox” and “all you fascists are going to lose.”

Of six gubernatorial candidates, only Harwell supports removing governor from UT board

House Speaker Beth Harwell supports Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposal to reduce the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees from 26 to 11 members – including elimination of the governor as a board member, according to a Victor Ashe column. But  five other major candidates for governor want to have a seat on the board if elected.

Randy Boyd, Craig Fitzhugh, Bill Lee and Diane Black all said they thought the governor should be a board member and they would actively attend meetings as governor. Karl Dean said he would actively attend meetings but did not respond to the question of whether the law should be amended to remove the governor.

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Haslam unveils legislation on juvenile justice reform, UT board downsizing

Press release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced his legislative agenda for the 2018 session, continuing his focus on leading the nation in jobs, education, and efficient and effective government.

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UT president DiPietro readying for retirement move to Illinois

Though it hasn’t been officially announced, University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro will soon be retiring, according to a Victor Ashe column. His contract doesn’t expire until June of 2019, but the former Knoxville mayor says he will “probably” leave this fall.

It is a badly kept secret on campus as Deborah DiPietro, his wife, has used Facebook extensively for the past few weeks outlining her packing up their Knoxville home on Old Kent Drive.

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Comptroller: UT sports staff violated policies in taking freebie golfing trips

Press release from state comptroller’s office

An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has revealed a number of issues related to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Sports Surface Management. These issues include trips and entertainment that were provided to UT Athletics staff by a department vendor and prospective vendor.

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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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