After months of deliberating, UT Chancellor Beverly J. Davenport announced today that she has chosen to opt out of Gov. Bill Haslam’s outsourcing plan.
The chancellor has been working closely with the Senior Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, Chris Cimino. Both have extensively analyzed the aspects of outsourcing before reaching a decision. Davenport and the UT administration have attended numerous meetings and taken time to listen to the community before making the final verdict.
“My decision to opt out was based on the extensive analyses of the financial considerations, the complexity of the work done on our research-intensive campus, and our commitment to the East Tennessee economy and our workforce,” Davenport said. “It is for these reasons that I have decided outsourcing facilities management is not the best option for our campus.”
Students, faculty and staff have been protesting the outsourcing plan for months; and on Tuesday, Oct. 31, they are finally heard.
“We thank the state and the UT System administration for challenging us to engage in extensive cost analyses and an evaluation of our practices, which have led to cost-saving operational changes in keeping with the outsourcing goals,” Davenport said.
Since the master campus plan in 2011, UT has invested in their facilities and infrastructure. The university has increased the buildings and spaced maintained by over 100 acres (1.5 million square feet), according to Davenport.
As a result, UT has become more efficient and reduced spending over the recent growth period. The savings are being transferred into the funding for the academic mission of the university.
“In fact, we rank among the lowest in the SEC in administrative and maintenance costs per square foot,” Davenport said. “Five-year projections indicate an additional $3.3 million in savings.”
According to Davenport, the goal of the proposed outsourcing was to increase efficiency on campus. However, the chancellor and administration reached the conclusion that UT does not need to outsource in order to do that.
“I want to thank the numerous people who have spent countless hours evaluating the outsourcing option.”
Featured image by Chelsea Babin
Edited by Kaitlin Flippo