Bredesen Statement on Shumaker Resignation

The following is a statement from Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen on the resignation of University of Tennessee President John Shumaker:

“This morning, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, I accepted the resignation of Dr. John Shumaker as the President of The University of Tennessee, effective immediately.

“I asked Dr. Shumaker to meet with me and Board of Trustees Vice Chair Clayton McWhorter yesterday afternoon. Mr. McWhorter and I expressed our deep concerns over the developments of the past several days. Dr. Shumaker did the right thing and offered his letter of resignation, which we formally received this morning. It is in the best interest of the university, its students, faculty, staff and alumni to move forward and put these controversies behind us.

“The past several weeks have been very difficult for The University of Tennessee family. UT is a wonderful university with many opportunities and it pained me as governor to watch this happening.

“Mr. McWhorter and I will call a special meeting of the Trustees on Thursday, August 21 to formally accept Dr. Shumaker-s resignation and discuss the terms of separation.

“As you know, Dr. Shumaker has a contract as President through 2008, which pays him $365,000 per year, plus incentive bonuses, deferred compensation, an expense account, a home, an automobile, and other related benefits. While Dr. Shumaker-s resignation is unconditional, Mr. McWhorter and I discussed with him appropriate severance terms and agreed we would recommend to the full board that Dr. Shumaker be paid his salary and accumulated deferred compensation through the end of the year. He will move out of his office immediately and he will have up to 60 days to move out of the residence. We believe this is the most reasonable and responsible course to take for the taxpayers and the university.

“At the Board of Trustees meeting called for August 21st, we will also determine who will step in and serve as interim president, as well as discuss a timeline and process for selecting a permanent president. We will be asking the executive committee of the board to come to this meeting with recommendations for the full board to consider and subsequently act upon.

“I am hopeful that today-s announcement will put an end to the negative attention focused on the university over the last several weeks. While this has certainly been a difficult time, I have been impressed with the professionalism and resilience of the university family during difficult times like these, the faculty and staff in particular. This bodes well for the long-term success of the institution. The University of Tennessee is truly one of our state-s greatest assets. I am committed to ensuring we get it on stable grounds to guarantee its success well into the future.

“I hope I can count on your support and input as we work through these issues.”