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No tuition hike for UT students in Knoxville, Chattanooga

June 22, 2018

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Students at the University of Tennessee’s Knoxville and Chattanooga campuses won’t have a tuition increase next year.

Tennessee’s Board of Trustees on Friday approved a budget for 2018-19 calling for no tuition increase at either of those two schools. Students at Tennessee’s Martin campus will see a 3-percent tuition hike.

This marks the first time since 1984 that any school in the UT system hasn’t had a tuition increase.

“I felt like we could really send an incredible message, help families out and students,” Tennessee president Joe DiPietro said. “I thought it was doable. To the credit of the chancellors, they rolled up their sleeves as a challenge and have done it — and the CBOs (chief business officers).”

Students at Chattanooga will have no increase in tuitions or fees. Knoxville students will pay $36 more in a fee supporting student services, activities and programs offered by the school’s division of student life.

Also on Friday, the Board of Trustees approved a review of DiPietro that said his overall performance over the past year had been “more than satisfactory.” Trustees granted DiPietro separate bonuses of just over $100,000 for 2016-17 and $67,000 for 2017-18.

This comes several weeks after the University of Tennessee faculty senate censured DiPietro for ousting chancellor Beverly Davenport.

DiPietro used part of his address at the trustees’ annual meeting to criticize the handling of tenure cases by pointing out they’re not consistently being treated “with an appropriate level of rigor.” DiPietro said that “we must do better.”

“Some dossiers were sloppy and contained errors,” DiPietro said. “In many cases, thorough vetting at all levels of the review was not always performed. Administrators in those cases would be embarrassed if we gave specifics. We must change this culture and assure a rigorous approach to the tenure process.”

DiPietro has said he would like an outside committee to review how Tennessee handles its tenure cases. DiPietro said he would like Tennessee to study how it’s done at schools it considers “aspirational institutions.”

Trustees also approved Tennessee renaming its college of agricultural sciences as the Herbert College of Agriculture in honor of alumni James and Judith Herbert. Chattanooga’s business school is being renamed the Gary W. Rollins College of Business in honor of an alumnus who donated $40 million to the school.

Tennessee’s Knoxville campus is naming its integrated business and engineering program after alumnus and donor Ralph D. Heath.

This was the last meeting of the Board of Trustees in its current form. A newly configured and smaller board will take over starting next month and will have the opportunity to choose its own president. Gov. Bill Haslam had backed the move that alters the complexion of the board and shrinks its capacity from 27 members (24 voting and three non-voting) to 12 (11 voting and one non-voting).

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