While rumors run rampant of about who will be the next President of the University of Tennessee System, one candidate says he isn’t even in the running.
UTM Chancellor Nick Dunagan told faculty members in the annual fall meeting that the “chains won’t be necessary” to keep him in Martin. A faculty member posed the question to him at the end of the meeting, asking if he was aware that some student leaders had said that they would “chain him to his desk” to keep him here.
“My only interest in the presidency is focused solely on someone who appreciates this campus, and someone that I can work with as your chancellor,” Dunagan said to open the meeting.
“The situation in Knoxville is both sad and disgusting,” said Dunagan. “It is time to move on to more important things.”
Trustee William Stokely III and House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh have said that they would support an effort to name Joe Johnson as interim president until another search can be completed. Johnson, now 70, previously served an eight-year term from 1991-1999.
“I don’t think you are going to see a search firm hired for this,” Dunagan added.
No official releases have been made by the UT Board of Trustees or the Governor’s office, but many are speculating.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that Dr. Margaret Perry is a potential candidate. Perry served as chancellor from 1986 - 1997. She was the first women to serve as an executive officer in the University of Tennessee system.
Perry retired in 1997 and is currently the dean of graduate studies at UT Knoxville.
ETSU President Paul Stanton has also been named by the Sentinel as a potential successor. Stanton has served as president of ETSU for seven years.
Chattanoogan.Com, an online only publication, reports that UTC Chancellor Bill Stacy is also interested in the position should he be approached.
The Nashville City Paper preemptively endorsed former Vice President Al Gore on Tuesday, saying “We can think of no better choice to take over the helm of our flagship university than a man who combines educational acumen and a proven ability to raise large sums of money.”