Tennessee State Comptroller Justin Wilson today released a report to the Tennessee General Assembly about UT’s funding of Sex Week programming and presented his findings to the Senate Education Committee. Interim UT System President Randy Boyd addressed the committee immediately following the comptroller’s presentation this afternoon.
The comprehensive report presents a range of policy considerations. UT is moving forward in coordination with the Board of Trustees to adopt four of the policy considerations in the comptroller’s report—3, 6, 7, and 8, with a commitment to study policy consideration 10. These will change the process for student programming on the Knoxville campus and add greater transparency. The university’s response is included in the report in the form of a joint letter from Interim President Boyd and Interim Chancellor Wayne Davis. Interim Chancellor Davis also sent the following message to campus this afternoon.
Message from Interim Chancellor Wayne T. Davis, February 20
UT System Interim President Randy Boyd and I attended a hearing in Nashville this afternoon where Comptroller Justin Wilson presented a report to the Senate Education Committee about how the university funds student programming in light of the ongoing controversy around Sex Week. The report provides a number of policy considerations for the campus. You can read the report and the university’s response on the Transparent UT website.
Programming for students and the ability of our students to create and participate in registered student organizations is critical for our campus and something we feel strongly about offering. The report gave us a number of things to consider, and we chose options for moving forward that preserve programming for students.
We are currently working to put in place a new process that includes student input into programming decisions funded with student activity fees and also gives university leadership a greater oversight role. This process is specific to how all funding decisions are made and does not impact anyone’s First Amendment rights. We are looking at other university student activity fee funding models, including other funding models within the UT System. The goal is for this new process to go into effect in time for fall semester programming decisions. It does not impact programs already approved in the current spring semester.
We have nearly 500 registered student organizations on our campus. They enhance our community and provide opportunities for our students to learn, serve, and lead outside the classroom. We look forward to continuing to work with these organizations and the students who run them.