Reverse Dr. DiPietro's termination of UT's Chancellor Beverly Davenport

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We, the undersigned, as concerned students of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, urge Dr. DiPietro to reverse the termination and demotion of Chancellor Beverly Davenport. We support Dr. Davenport in her rightful position as Chancellor for the following reasons:

  • As the first woman Chancellor of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Dr. Davenport supported all students on this campus during times that they felt marginalized and targeted.
  • Dr. Davenport has been a champion for productive discourse, even in the face of opposition from the Board of Trustees, the Tennessee State Legislature, and UT System Administration.
  • She remained committed to academic excellence and encouraged students to succeed inside and outside the classroom. 
  • After being Chancellor for only 14 months, it is an inappropriate response to dismiss Dr. Davenport without allowing her to improve in areas of concern.
  • Dr. Davenport’s one-on-one and group communication with students, staff, faculty, and alumni was inspiring, transformational, and encouraged all Volunteers to reach their goals during and after their time at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
  • Dr. Davenport’s vision for the University of Tennessee-Knoxville to become a top public university while remaining committed to diversity and inclusion among many others goals was well articulated at student events as well as alumni and faculty gatherings. 
  • Her commitment to issues such as the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, Pride Center, creation of the Veterans Resource Center, support of a Title IX Office, transition of an athletics program that aligns with student and community values, and her undeniable love and support for UT’s campus makes Dr. Davenport not only a leader on a thriving campus, but a visionary for the future of Volunteer values. 
  • Dr. Davenport supported facility management employees even in the face of tough opposition to show her “commitment to the East Tennessee economy and our workforce” and through her “extensive analyses of the financial considerations.”

As students, staff, faculty, and alumni on this campus, we feel that we were not asked to voice our concerns and show our support for Chancellor Davenport before her termination.

As a university that aims to serve all its stakeholders, we hope Dr. DiPietro can fulfill his commitment to this university and reverse the decision to demote Dr. Beverly Davenport. At the very least, this letter stands to show the Chancellor’s cabinet, the UT Board of Trustees, Tennessee State Legislature, and UT President Dr. DiPietro the discrepancy between the desires of the student body and UT System Administration.

Chancellor Davenport stood by us, so we will stand by her.

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