UT President John Petersen and 21 members of his executive staff, including UTC Chancellor Roger Brown, have taken a voluntary 5 percent pay cut, and 19 staff members plan to give up vehicles given to them by the system.
Dr. Brown will lose $11,522 from his base pay of about $235,000 per year and will sell his university car, a Chevrolet Impala.
“It is extremely important that we let our employees know that we consider ourselves a part of this crisis,” said Dr. Brown. “We wanted to demonstrate that we are part of the solution ... I think it was the right decision.”
The system will save $400,000 a year by enacting these voluntary cuts, officials said, and $24,700 of that will come from the University of Tennessee’s two athletic directors — Mike Hamilton and Joan Cronan — will give up 5 percent of their pay to fund academic programs, according to a statement sent from UT system administrators.
The salary cuts will become effective Jan. 1, and vehicles will be turned over April 1, giving the executives time to find personal vehicles.
University officials decided to trim their own salaries after hearing that Gov. Phil Bredesen wants to cut $181.7 million from higher education in the coming fiscal year. The UT system’s share of the cuts have grown to about $100 million, according to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.
Locally, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga will have to cut more than $8 million, or 18.5 percent of its budget in the coming fiscal year, according to commission documents.
“I think it is going to challenge us all to be extremely patient and creative,” said Dr. Brown. “It particularly concerns us as it affects people’s families.”
Dr. Petersen said the large cuts will require sacrifices.
“It’s inevitable we’ll be making difficult cuts, including programs and probably some positions,” he said in a statement. “These will be real cuts, and we take them seriously. We felt it was appropriate to begin with the leadership responsible for developing those plans.”
Dr. Brown said UTC’s vice chancellors and the highest-paid staff are not being required to donate a portion of their pay or give up university vehicles. However, he said he may offer the option to higher-level staff before the beginning of the year.
“I want us to make a decision quickly,” he said. “I expect that there are individuals who want to volunteer it. I feel certain that is going to happen.”
Joan Garrett McClane has been a staff writer for the Times Free Press since August 2007. Before becoming a general assignment writer for the paper, she wrote about business, higher education and the court systems. She grew up the oldest of five sisters near Birmingham, Ala., and graduated with a master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama. Before landing her first full-time job as a reporter at the Times Free Press, ...