UT Postpones Decision On Program Cuts

KNOXVILLE — A decision on possible program cuts to include the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville will be postponed until October, but the UT Board of Trustees will vote on Friday as scheduled on a budget to include up to $21 million in system-wide cuts.

A fiscal year 2009 budget based on reduced appropriations can be approved with specific programmatic cuts to be decided in October.

The UT board was scheduled on Friday to consider proposed elimination of the UT Knoxville Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology in the College of Arts and Sciences; the Industrial and Organizational Psychology graduate program in the College of Business Administration; and the dance program, a minor in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences.

Those proposals now will be taken up by the board when it meets October 23-24 in Knoxville. The postponement was decided by UT President John Petersen on Monday in response to a joint request by UT Knoxville interim Chancellor Jan Simek and Faculty Senate leadership.

“The state budget process requires quick reaction, which has shortened the discussion time possible,” Petersen said. “To assure that all concerned have adequate time to study the issue and that we have dealt directly and effectively with all concerns that have been raised during this difficult process, I have agreed to the request by Interim Chancellor Simek and the Faculty Senate to a lengthened period to consider programmatic cuts.

“I will ask the trustees to allow campus and system leadership additional time to seek faculty input and involvement.”

Petersen emphasized his ongoing commitment to strategic budget decision-making and acknowledged that current economic conditions in Tennessee responsible for reduced state appropriations are expected to continue, impacting appropriations in the future.

“I further applaud Chancellor Simek, Provost Bob Holub, the deans and vice chancellors for their commitment to strategic decision-making,” he said. “I am steadfastly opposed to making across-the-board cuts to deal with our ongoing budget difficulties. The university has not fully recovered from that approach in the 1990s.

“It might be easier or more popular in some circles to make the cuts in such a manner, but the strength of the entire university would be diminished. That would be an unacceptable response to these difficult circumstances.”

For more information on the Board of Trustees, visit http://bot.tennessee.edu/.

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Contacts: Gina Stafford (865) 974-0741 or Karen Collins (865) 974-5186.