UT Chancellor Beverly Davenport announced her decision Tuesday morning to opt out of the proposed plan to outsource UT facilities management through an email sent to all students and faculty.
Davenport said her highly anticipated decision came from a “considerable analysis of proposed savings and a close examination of our current and future operations.”
“I am deeply indebted to our staff, led by senior vice chancellor for finance and administration Chris Cimino, who has worked diligently since 2015 to evaluate outsourcing on the Knoxville campus,” Davenport said.
Davenport said her decision to oppose outsourcing was based on the growth that UT has undergone since 2011, prior to any outsourcing of UT facilities employees. Davenport said in the email that during this period of growth, UT has already improved its level of efficiency by reducing operating expenses and reallocating savings to focus on academic investment.
“My decision to opt out was based on the extensive analyses of the financial considerations, the complexity of the work done on our research-intensive campus and our commitment to the East Tennessee economy and our workforce,” Davenport said.
The decision has been a point of UT controversy for over a year. Organizations like TN is NOT for Sale and SGA have taken stands against outsourcing by writing letters, protesting and creating proposals, among other actions.
75 out of 132 Tennessee legislators also expressed opposition to the plan, and 22 local Knoxville vendors asked Davenport to opt out in a letter.
The outsourcing plan was originally proposed by Tennessee governor Bill Haslam to outsource services by Chicago-based multinational real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated (JLL). While the plan was met with mixed reviews from the public and from Tennessee lawmakers, Haslam said that it would save the state millions of dollars.
However, when it came to UT, Davenport had the final decision on whether or not the university would opt in or out of the plan.