Tag Archives: Cheek

UT Slashes Funding of Sex Week

Legislator criticism of the University of Tennessee’s Sex Week has led campus officials to announce they are cutting state funding to the event, the News Sentinel reports.
The weeklong series of events and panel discussions planned for the UT’s Knoxville campus, beginning April 5, has drawn unwanted attention from some state legislators, who have questioned the use of public money earmarked for the program.
Totaling $18,195, the bulk of the event’s funding — $11,145 — was expected to come from academic departments and programs, i.e. state funding.
Another $6,700 in student activity fees was allocated by student boards through UT’s Central Program Council.
On Wednesday, UT-Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said the use of student programming dollars will be allowed, but the state funding will no longer be available.
“We support the process and the students involved, but we should not use state funds in this manner,” Cheek said in a written statement.

UT Faculty Prods Chancellor on Same-sex Benefits

University of Tennessee Chancellor Jimmy Cheek defended himself Monday as faculty members asked pointed questions about why the administration refused to work toward providing health care and other benefits to unmarried same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
More from the News Sentinel:
Members of the Faculty Senate pressed Cheek on why he wouldn’t lobby the Legislature to change current laws, why the school couldn’t offer financial compensation for faculty whose partners aren’t eligible for health care, and why the school couldn’t offer other benefits, such as tuition compensation, for employees’ partners.
“We always have to weigh, anytime we bring something to the General Assembly and board of trustees, the probability of it being supported and whether or not it will compromise other things we’re trying to get done,” Cheek said. “We just don’t see a way forward.”
He declined to outline how his former institution, the University of Florida, found a way to work around a conservative state government to offer domestic partner benefit packages. He also refused to say why UT couldn’t offer tuition reimbursements.
Though he didn’t want to respond to these questions publicly, Cheek did offer to sit down individually with those who wanted more detailed explanations
.

UT Students Want Chancellor to Forgo $22,000 Pay Raise

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An online petition from students is pressuring the chancellor of the University of Tennessee’s Knoxville campus to forgo a raise of more than $22,000.
The university president on Friday defended Chancellor Jimmy Cheek’s nearly $400,000 salary as below the median for leaders of similar colleges.
By midday Friday, there were 860 signatures on the petition at www.change.org, a website that allows people to create online petitions seeking social change. The petition was started by Andrew Doss, an electrical engineering student from Goodlettsville.
According to WVLT-TV (http://bit.ly/NcPgE8), the tuition increase to be paid in the fall will average about $289 while Cheek’s raise is $22,356.
Tuition went up 12 percent for UTK undergraduates in 2011, and trustees just approved another hike of 8 percent to take effect with the fall semester.
Brandon Brackman signed the petition and said he’s fortunate to have scholarships and grants to continue at UT for another year.
He added, “But I have friends who rely on loans and on the sweat off their backs. This is making me bitter and jaded about the state of higher public education. Something needs to be done.”
Lisa Dicker also signed and wrote, “As a student who works two part time jobs and maintains a 4.0 GPA, this increase in tuition as a benefit to my education is insulting. Jimmy Cheek accepting another pay raise just adds to my increasing loss of faith in our administration.”
UT President Joe DiPietro said in a statement that Cheek’s raise was based on performance and his compensation is appropriate.

UT Executive Pay Raises 8 Percent; Regular Employees 2 Percent

The independent union that represents staff employees at the University of Tennessee is unhappy with Chancellor Jimmy Cheek’s $27,600 raise, reports Megan Boehnke.
Local United Campus Workers President Tom Anderson said in a release that the chancellor’s raise is more than his annual salary and “almost twice what the lowest-paid UT employees earn in a year.”
Faculty and staff across the Knoxville campus are slated to get a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment and a 3 percent merit pool, according to the budget approved by the board of trustees on Thursday. The merit pool represents 3 percent of the total payroll, but only high-performing employees will get a boost and the amounts vary, UT President Joe DiPietro said.
“This raise won’t even cover the increase in employee health insurance premiums, never mind the other costs that have gone up in the four years since our last raise,” Anderson said in a statement.
DiPietro, who attended the UT Foundation board meeting on Friday, defended the 8 percent raise for Cheek. That bump is within the pool available for other employees at Knoxville and is also a result of market research showing Cheek is underpaid compared with people in similar positions across the nation, he said.

Veteran TN Newsman Duren Cheek Dies, Aged 73

UPDATE: Jim East, who worked with Duren, did an obituary for The Tennessean, available HERE. Second update below.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Duren Cheek, who managed the United Press International bureau in Nashville and then covered the Tennessee Legislature for The Tennessean, has died. He was 73.
His death was confirmed Wednesday by his wife, Beverly Cheek, who said her husband died about 8:30 Tuesday night in the emergency room at Williamson Medical Center in Franklin. He had been in declining health for several months, she said.
Cheek was hired at The Tennessean by Frank Sutherland when he was the editor at the newspaper. Sutherland said Cheek’s fierce loyalty and keen competitive nature fit well with his fine editing and reporting skills.
“His No. 1 trait was loyalty,” Sutherland said. “He had an institutional knowledge of Nashville; who the players were and how they interacted. He was a great journalist.”
Sutherland recalled Cheek organizing several charity golf tournaments to raise money for journalism scholarships.
Sue Allison, who worked for Cheek at UPI, recalled his ability to dictate a perfect breaking news story from the scene without notes.
“Duren under fire was like no one else,” Allison said. “He was my boss for seven years; the best seven years of my career.”
The family said Cheeks’ body will be cremated and his ashes spread over the golf course at Henry Horton State Park.
A memorial service was being planned in Nashville for next week.

Personal note: Actually, Sue, I’d say Duren was better at taking the dictation over the phone and turning the rudimentary mumblings of a cub reporter into a sparkling piece of prose. (Sue and I worked with Cheek several years at UPI. He was about the best editor I’ve ever known, a fine writer… and a generally remarkable man.
UPDATE II: Resolutions memorializing Duren were introduced in the Tennessee General Assembly by both Republican Sen. Jack Johnson and House Democratic Chairman Mike Turner. The text, which I read at Duren’s memorial service, is available HERE. It passed the House on Thursday, May 12, unanimously and likely will clear the Senate within a week or so. An engrossed official copy will then be sent to Beverley, according to Skip Cauthorn, a former reporter who worked with Duren and, in his capacity as a legislative staffer, was instrumental in working up the resolution promptly.
The memorial service, with Frank Sutherland as moderator of sorts, went well. Several folks shared Duren stories – including Sue Allison and Joey Ledford, who posted comments below. There was also a slide show of photographs from Duren’s life, many of them of him with family. (Having gone fishing with DC a few times, I liked the one of him holding a BIG rockfish.)