UTK Chancellor steps down

By: Nick Bona
By: Nick Bona

Knoxville (WVLT) - There's been a change in leadership at the UT-Knoxville campus. Chancellor Loren Crabtree has resigned effective immediately.

Volunteer TV's Liz Tedone has more on what was a shocking announcement to many.

It's been no secret that Chancellor Crabtree and University President John Petersen have disagreed on governing the flagship campus, but many people we spoke with say they thought the two were working it out, and were stunned by this announcement and it's timing.

Chancellor Loren Crabtree's resignation comes as a shock to many university faculty members.

"Loren Crabtree was a highly respected administrator," faculty senate chair Dr. David Patterson said.

David Patterson is president of the faculty senate. He says Chancellor Crabtree and President Dr. John Petersen were working under a mandate by the board of trustees to end their power struggle.

"And there's been a long-standing problem at UT Knoxville where the president had assumed responsibility and control over many aspects of the administration of the campus, including athletics, information technology, human resources, and this just complicates the administration of the Knoxville campus," Patterson said.

Unlike other multi-campus university systems across the country where chancellors run the campuses and university presidents maintain government and community relations, The lines have been blurred for years at the Knoxville flagship campus.

Most recently, Crabtree and Petersen disagreed on plans for the 200 acre Cherokee campus. They say Crabtree's resignation came as a joint decision. Both men, unavailable for comment, shared their thoughts in a statement to the media.

Dr. Petersen writes "Loren Crabtree has done an excellent job leading the Knoxville campus, including through one of the most difficult periods of instability in university history. He' s also credited with national acclaim for his accomplishments."

Loren Crabtree states he is proud of the campus' accomplishments during his seven-year tenure, particularly improving the quality of students, faculty and staff and that he's happy to have been a part of the progress.

An interim chancellor will be named in days and a search committee will be chosen, but many faculty members like David Patterson say they're skeptical a good replacement will be found.

"I think that the circumstances of his resignation will make it extremely hard to find someone of his stature to step into the position," Patterson said.

The timing of this announcement comes in the middle of winter break. Many students and faculty have yet to learn the news as they are on holiday.


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