Tennessee student life official steps down
Posted: Friday, May 24, 2013 7:00 pm
By STEVE MEGARGEE
AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE (AP) — Tennessee has announced that Tim Rogers is stepping down as the university’s vice chancellor for student life, less than three weeks after he cited an “intolerable situation” in an email that he sent to chancellor Jimmy Cheek.
“I do not believe I can continue to adequately serve my division, our students or the university absent your support and confidence in me,” Rogers wrote in a May 6 email obtained through a public records request. The email was first reported by Knoxville television station WBIR.
Rogers also writes in the email indicating his retirement plans that “I did not hear anything today that might mitigate what I feel has become an intolerable situation.”
Tennessee had sent out a release Wednesday indicating Rogers was retiring effective June 30.
According to the release, Rogers had worked at the university for over 38 years and had spent nearly a decade as vice chancellor.
“Tim is a dedicated advocate for our students and has worked tirelessly to make their UT experience even better,” Cheek said in a statement.
The announcement of Rogers’ pending retirement comes less than two weeks after Jenny Wright was fired as Tennessee’s director of the office of student judicial affairs for refusing to cooperate with a school investigation into whether she had inappropriate relationships with student-athletes.
University spokeswoman Amy Blakely said Thursday that Rogers’ retirement and mention of an “intolerable situation” were unrelated to the Wright case.
“While the chancellor very much appreciated Tim and all the work he’d done here, they were not on the same page thinking about student life going forward,” Blakely said.
Rogers didn’t return messages left at his office.
A public records request also showed that Wright had sent Rogers an email on May 7 — the day after Rogers’ email to Cheek — in which she asked to meet Rogers about the “false accusations” made against her. In the email, Wright also cites a “hostile work environment that has been created and the discrimination I am experiencing.” Wright said in the email that she and Rogers had previously discussed the accusations during an April 11 conversation.
Wright’s lawyer, Robert Kurtz, has said that his client “categorically denies” having inappropriate contact with any student.
“That email supports what we’ve said all along,” Kurtz said. “She did feel there was a hostile environment at UT. Rather than fight that, she chose to leave.”
Published in The Messenger 5.24.13