A university chancellor who took a controversial stand to protect the jobs of thousands of public workers has now lost her own.
University of Tennessee-Knoxville Chancellor Beverly Davenport was abruptly fired from her post last week, in a move representatives for unionized campus workers are calling another step toward the privatization of thousands of facilities management jobs.
The battle in Tennessee pits the state’s GOP governor, Bill Haslam, against its public workers, and UT-Knoxville is where the workers, backed by a student movement, have made their stand. The workers see Davenport’s firing as an effort to remove a key obstacle to privatization.
“This is an attempt to install new leadership more consolidated to the corporate and extremist political agenda of Haslam and the legislature in Nashville,” said Thomas Walker of United Campus Workers, the lead union for facilities employees at Tennessee colleges. “Davenport was an advocate for students, staff, and faculty.”
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This is not unique to Tennessee, or even to universities. No one wants to pay a living wage, provide benefits for, or give pensions to their workers any more. The American dream is over, unless you're one of the 0.01%.
By the way, exactly what are university graduates going to do in today's economy? The state could save even more money by not funding higher education in the first place.