[The following report was presented to the Faculty Senate on July 21, 1975.]
STATEMENT OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
OF THE FACULTY SENATE, THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE KNOXVILLE
On behalf of the Faculty Senate of UTK, the Senate Executive Committee expresses great concern over the failure of the State to provide adequate financing for higher education in Tennessee for the coming fiscal year. Failure to receive adequate funding threatens the ability of all units of higher education to provide quality educational services for Tennesseans and may lead to widespread enrollment restrictions, overcrowded classes, narrowing of educational opportunities, higher tuition. costs, and delayed graduation dates.
Institutions of higher education are complex organizations, the overall qualitative momentum of which is difficult to establish but is easily lost. Underlying the general quality of each college or university is its core of outstanding faculty and staff members who are, of course, the most difficult to attract to the institution and the first to be lured away by other institutions during periods of budgetary exigencies. The failure to fund higher education at a more realistic level during the coming year is particularly devastating because historically State of Tennessee appropriations for education have been among the lowest for comparable institutions in the southeastern United States. A pressing concern is that quality higher education demands a highly specialized and competent staff which is difficult to attract and maintain when salary increases are restricted to an average of only 2.5 percent but the cost of living is increasing at a rate of 12 percent. The negative effects of the 1975-76 budgetary deficiencies will continue to restrict the progress of higher education in Tennessee until some special catch-up funding effort is accomplished. These catch-up efforts to restore lost portions of the budgetary base must, of course, be in addition to otherwise justifiable levels of funding designed to maintain the resources available to Tennessee higher education institutions at competitive regional. levels.
Because of our intense concern for the future of quality higher education in the State of Tennessee, we respectfully suggest that the State Administration and the Tennessee Legislature consider:
(1) Upon recovery of the general economy, provision of special funding increases to compensate for the less-than-adequate levels of budgetary support made available in prior years and in 1975-76 specifically.
(2) The necessity of a long-range plan to raise the level of UTK budgets and salaries from among the lowest in the region to at least a level representative of comparable southeastern institutions.
(3) Reexamination of existing tax revenue policies and accomplishment of whatever steps are necessary to assure that the State of Tennessee will I lave potentially adequate sources of new revenues which will provide for responsible funding levels for all state programs.
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