KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A new University of Tennessee report finds that if the federal government decides to go ahead with divesting the Tennessee Valley Authority, the public utility could be broken up among several private power generators in the region.
The study conducted by the school’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy was released on Monday. It finds that it would be unlikely that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission would approve the sale of the entire TVA to a single company.
President Barack Obama’s 2014 budget proposal calls for a strategic review of the TVA, the nation’s largest public utility with 9 million customers in seven states from Virginia to Mississippi.
The TVA was created in 1933 to control flooding and bring electricity to rural Appalachia.
A federal magistrate judge today ordered a former University of Tennessee Foundation executive to be jailed pending trial in a child pornography case, reports the News Sentinel.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Clifford Shirley cited as a primary cause the fact that Bruce O. Downsbrough admitted to investigators that he had molested as many as five boys in the past.
“Taking away child pornography (as a condition of release) could actually increase the potential for contact offenses,” Shirley ruled.
Downsbrough, 60, who until last week was chief operating officer for the foundation, pleaded guilty to sexual assault on a child and sexual assault in the third degree in a 1986 Colorado case, according to testimony. The victims, according to testimony today, were ages 10 and 11.
Knoxville Police Department Investigator Tom Evans testified that Downsbrough told him he paid roughly $3,500 for counseling for the two boys.
In one case he was given a two-year deferred sentence, and the case was eventually dismissed. In the second case, he was sentenced to two years of probation, according to testimony.
It was not clear from testimony whether that conviction remains on his record.
A federal grand jury last week in East Tennessee returend a four-count indictment against Downsbrough alleging he either received in the mail or downloaded some 20,000 child pornography images as well as several videos.
His house in the Knoxville area was searched in November. He remained employed by the UT Foundation during a follow-up investigation. He was indicted last week and then terminated from his position as chief operating officer.
From the News Sentinel:
A top officer over the University of Tennessee Foundation is facing federal child porn charges, accused of downloading and possessing illegal material on a laptop.
Bruce O. Downsbrough, the chief operating officer and executive vice president of the foundation, UT’s fundraising arm, was taken into custody Tuesday morning by agents with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, U.S. Postal Service and authorities with the Knoxville Police Department.
He has been placed on administrative leave. The investigation does not appear to be related to his duties at UT, said spokeswoman Gina Stafford in statement.
He faces a four-count indictment, which was unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court.
The indictment alleges that on Dec. 4, 2008, Downsbrough downloaded child pornography. He is again accused of downloading the material on Feb. 8, 2009 and on an unspecified date in April 2012.
The charging document indicates that federal authorities searched Downsbrough’s home on Nov. 16, 2012. According to records, they discovered 19 digital video discs as well as images on a computer hard drive.
Full story HERE
University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro defended the Knoxville campus’s spring “Sex Week” program under critical questioning Thursday from state Sen. Stacey Campfield in a legislative hearing.
“In my professional opinion, it is very, very important on a university campus to have some sex education going on,” DiPietro told the Knoxville Republican at one point, adding that if a single unwanted pregnancy or sexual assault was prevented as a result, that would justify the program.
“I have to go back to the First Amendment,” he said. “I have a professional obligation to preserve the First Amendment. I’m sorry.”
Campfield replied that he, too, supports freedom of speech under the First Amendment, but the issue is “forcing students to pay for speech they find objectionable.” He cited as an example a “transgender cross-dressing show” during the April week of events.
“If someone wants to dress up like a duck, God bless them. But I shouldn’t have to pay for it,” said Campfield.
From a Meagan Boehnke report:
It took about five hours for a lucky winner to track down the golden condom on the University of Tennessee’s campus — far less than the intended five days. It was found behind the clock tower near the Pedestrian Mall. But there will be plenty more events to come — drag shows, trivia, workshops and other sex-tinged presentations — through Friday as part of the school’s inaugural and controversial Sex Week.
“The students have always been really supportive, and we have not had any pushback this week,” said Brianna Rader, co-founder of the event that received national headlines with salaciously themed programming, which provoked local lawmakers.
Rader estimated the kickoff event Sunday evening drew an audience of about 170 students to the University Center Auditorium hear from Megan Andelloux, a nationally certified sexuality educator who runs the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health in Rhode Island.
A noon workshop on communication from one of her colleagues, Adia Manduley, drew about 30 students Monday at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, where she talked about how to be up front with your partner about what you want and what you don’t want, the importance of identifying your own boundaries before sex and the sometimes tricky issues surrounding consent.
Legislators critical of the upcoming Sex Week UT say University of Tennessee officials moved in the right direction by cutting state funding to the event. But they would like to go further.
Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, said that UT’s withdrawal Wednesday of $11,145 in state funds previously allocated to the weeklong campus program on sex and sex behavior topics was “a half-step.” About $6,700 in student fee monies are still being channeled toward the events, and Campfield said that should be eliminated, too.
“Those fees are mandatory for all students,” he said. “I don’t think most parents and students who pay them want their money going to promoting this kind of thing.”
By Thursday, donations and contributions had largely made up the difference as word spread online about the controversy.
Campfield said the Senate Education Committee has asked that UT President Joe DiPietro and Knoxville campus Chancellor Jimmy Cheek appear before the panel to discuss Sex Week UT and UT policies on such events. Or, as Campfield put it, “Explain the academic merits of a seminar on oral sex.”
Sex Week UT will go on, reports the News Sentinel, thanks to its organizers’ securing roughly $7,000 more in funds in a single day. After the University of Tennessee announced Wednesday evening that it was taking back $11,145 — two-thirds of the weeklong event’s budget — students and other supporters rallied, pushing donations through a PayPal account on the Sex Week UT Web page and a fundraising challenge on the independent site Indiegogo.
“I knew we would get the money back, but in one day!” said Brianna Rader, co-founder of Sexual Empowerment and Awareness at Tennessee, Sex Week’s sponsoring student organization. “I’m still shocked and disappointed that (funding was withdrawn), but I’m so pleased that we were given the opportunity to show how important this is to the students.”
…Sex Week’s cost was $18,195, including money for national speakers, T-shirts, posters and licensing to show two films (“Fried Green Tomatoes” and “Hysteria”), said Rader, who said the schedule had been set since January. That included $6,700 in student activity fees allocated by UT’s student-run Central Program Council, and $11,145 from various academic departments and programs that co-sponsored events.
On Wednesday, UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy Cheek decreed student programming dollars could be used, but the $11,145 — drawn from funds that included tuition payments and state allocations — could not.
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.
In a House floor speech Monday night, Rep. Bill Dunn said plans for “Sex Week” at the University of Tennessee provide an example of campus organizations promoting behavior offensive to Christian students and why legislators need to protect them.
Sen. Stacey Campfield, meanwhile, said he expects UT officials to be called before the Senate Education Committee to explain the event, scheduled on the Knoxville campus April 7-12.
Campfield wrote members of the committee suggesting the panel reconsider its approval of UT’s budget for the coming year because of the event. He said Monday that the committee’s chairman, Sen. Dolores Gresham, R-Somerville, told him reconsideration of budget approval would be difficult, but that UT officials would be summoned to explain Sex Week.
Dunn and Campfield, both Knoxville Republicans, cited a Fox News report on Sex Week, arranged by Sexual Empowerment and Awareness in Tennessee (SEAT).
Dunn told House colleagues that participants will engage in a scavenger hunt for a golden condom and that workshop topics include “getting laid,” “sex positivity,” “queer as a bug” and “how to turn up the heat on our sex drive.”
Donations to the University of Tennessee athletic department, and the number of people who gifted that money, fell by more than 25 percent in 2012, reports the News Sentinel. The $10 million drop followed coaching shake-ups and a poor performance on the football field — but it also came after years of record giving to the department.
For the last decade, new capital gifts have fueled new building projects. Those building projects brought new luxury stadium seating. Those seats delivered even more donations at higher-dollar amounts required from ticket holders who wanted to watch games from a premium perch.
It’s a strategy that grew the overall donations — for the tickets fund and capital projects combined — from $13.6 million in 1998 to a high water mark of $46.9 million in 2008. Last year UT brought in $35.1 million.
“When I started in the fall of ’97, there were four people in the office total and now the office may have 15 or 16 people,” said Bill Myers, the chief financial officer for the athletics department who began his time at UT in the development office.
“Over that time it grew because when you have 10,000 to 12,000 contributors, with four people you just can’t have personal relationships with that number,” he said. “So as you add staff and are able to steward those donors, and have personal interactions with more of them, they’re more likely to contribute.”