UTK chancellor critical of system president's plans

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - University of Tennessee-Knoxville Chancellor Loren Crabtree is criticizing a policy plan by the university system's president, John Petersen, as one that could lead the school toward "mediocrity."

Crabtree said in a Thursday e-mail to faculty and staff that his feelings about Petersen's "Mission of the University" plan reflect a near-unanimous view of 350 campus employees.

Crabtree said Petersen's plan would diminish campus officials' authority over areas like human resources, information technology, planning and construction and the athletics department.

The move would "homogenize the various units of the University of Tennessee each up until now an independent and unique institution with a special role and, in so doing, will diminish all to mediocrity," he wrote.

Crabtree said the Knoxville campus should keep its distinct role within the overall University of Tennessee system, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported.

"Only a great flagship university produces the teaching and scholarship required to produce significant impacts on economies and quality of life in a region," he said.

Petersen was not available for comment, a spokeswoman said.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)