Government Relations Committee Meeting
September 22, 2003

Faculty Senate Government Relations Committee met at 11:30 a.m. in Arena Dining Room A.

Attending were Gerald Schroedl, Deborah Thomas, student rep. Sarah Keeton, and Mark Harmon, chair. David Bemis and Tom Ballard each sent e-mails indicating last-minute obligations prevented their attendance.

The committee agreed with the two previously established goals:
  1. Work with Tom Ballard to improve relations with state representatives and other elected officials.

  2. Work to foster positive relationships with print and electronic media to improve the public perception of UT.
Sarah Keeton indicated she had a meeting later in the day with Tom Ballard and said she would press with him the desire that our next meeting be with him, and that we establish a common understanding of our approaches to state legislators. Strong interest emerged for later in the semester to have a "Shadow Day" where legislators could shadow both faculty and students.

The committee also expressed a desire to arrange an event (possibly a lunch) to introduce local TV news assignment editors to people and resources for more thorough and informed UT coverage.

The committee agreed a Faculty Senate resolution in favor of an early voting location on campus would go a long way toward getting one in time for the March 2004 primary election.

Government Relations Committee Meeting
January 16, 2004

The Faculty Senate Government Relations Committee met from 11:45 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. in Arena Dining A on January 16th, 2004. Attending were Mark Harmon, committee chair; Gerald Schroedl; student representative Sarah Keeton, and Tom Ballard, University Government Relations. Deborah Thomas sent a note that she was ill and unable to attend.

The committee approved the minutes of the Sept. 22, 2003, meeting with the correction that the Tennessee primary election is Feb. 10th, not March. Sarah Keeton and Mark Harmon reported that both the Student Government and Faculty Senate had approved resolutions in support of an early voting site on campus. Their respective meetings with Knox County Elections Commissioner Greg Mackay, however, did not yield such a site. Mackay is looking toward fewer voting sites on election day and perhaps an expansion of early voting locations, and is strongly inclined toward the University Center for either or both.

The committee looked favorably on the efforts of some faculty members to establish "shadow days" for state legislators to follow faculty and students through typical days.

Committee chairman Mark Harmon took it as his task to organize a lunch meeting where TV news assignment editors and other news reporters would meet with the committee about improved UT coverage.

Tom Ballard candidly answered questions about the legislature. He expects the lottery proceeds formula of 30% for scholarships will remain the same. The increase to 35% is unlikely, but the available evidence suggests the bigger "pots" will attract more players and actually increase the scholarship money. The scholarship students probably will mean UT will be able both to increase undergraduate enrollment slightly, and to be even more selective in admissions.

Ballard said substantial tax reform is unlikely for this legislative session or next, but suggested within this framework it still was possible to encourage legislators toward support for UT. He distributed a list of three top priorities: restoration of base funding, major infusion of funds for capital outlay and maintenance, and another funding installment for research centers of excellence.

Ballard also distributed and discussed a list of legislature deadlines, and three top priority and three secondary priority bills. He encouraged faculty in general, and the Faculty Senate in particular, to keep UT concerns out front, find candidates who wish to run for office as advocates for higher education, work with current legislators whenever possible, find ways to stress that faculty are a powerful group and need to be taken serously, and influence those who influence legislators. He mentioned the contributor lists to be found via

Committee members discussed how faculty members could exercise their citizenship rights in the form of becoming delegates to state and national conventions of political parties.

Committee chair Mark Harmon suggested a future meeting with Tom Ballard this spring could address government relations issues on the federal level.

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