After one year of work, former SGA President Will Carver is sitting back
and UT President Wade Gilley is still fighting for funding. We gave each a
grade at the end of the fall semester and challenged them to do better. One
semester after that challenge, both pushed for better funding, but one
waned in other areas of his administration.
President Wade Gilley
What began as a good presidency turned sour for Gilley after Christmas.
We said in December that he was a take-charge kind of manager.
That was an understatement.
Gilley is so take-charge that many people from the Tower to the Physical
Plant have been alienated by the president who literally isolated himself
on the eighth floor of Andy Holt Tower.
Our first thoughts of Gilley were that he was a real go-getter with lots of
goals on how to make this university better. But what we've found after two
semesters is that he probably thinks he can obtain many of those goals
Without good communication with other administrators, faculty and even
students, Gilley will fail at getting his lofty goals accomplished. We are
members of a state-funded public university. It's not a business. And it
shouldn't run like a business. Instead, more university community members
should feel like they can make more important contributions to attaining
goals that we all want for UT.
Don't form another committee that means nothing to us with members who
serve on seven other committees - all with few ideas on what exactly their
role is. This time, talk to us - the students.
His greatest strength, as we have seen it, is his relationship with state
lawmakers and Gov. Don Sundquist. Those strong relationships will hopefully
enable UT to get the extra funding it needs. He openly told lawmakers in
the fall that his own administrators were tying up extra money and vowed to
streamline the university. The problem with that streamlining, though, is
that it has been done in a piecemeal fashion.
A chancellor here, a vice president there. And once they leave, their
positions are zapped. In the meantime, other administrators sit, twiddling
their thumbs, wondering if they will be next.
Moreover, we think he should take a stronger leadership role in the alleged
academic fraud scandal that has rocked this campus for months. Instead of
allowing Athletic Director Doug Dickey take the reins on the entire matter,
Gilley should grab the reins. He has spent months showing us how he will
lead UT by taking total control of all aspects of campus life. We wonder
why he hasn't stepped up to do the same for the athletic department.
Instead of continuing to assure us that no wrongs have been done while the
rest of the country questions the integrity of a UT degree, prove to us
that you are in control of the athletic department too, President
We hope for improvements next semester.
Semester grade: C-
SGA President Will Carver
Will Carver thinks he is Superman.
We are not accusing him of having a super ego; we are referring to his
inability to find time to sleep this semester.
That's because he and some members of his staff were in the office long
before our first 8 a.m. class some mornings, and still working long after
Letterman went off the air at night.
Whether he was talking to legislators about students, to students about
legislators, to administrators about students, or just trying to attend
class on the side, Carver was on the go. All the time.
Rumor has it he's enjoying his post-presidency life that enables him to
sleep late and kid current SGA President Eric Beaty about all the work he
We said in December that Carver would be remembered decades from now as one
of UT's strongest leaders. He proved us right in the spring semester.
Carver continued his tireless effort to lobby for more state funding from
legislators throughout the spring, whether he and his staff were in
Nashville talking to lawmakers or on the phone with angry students.
Our only qualms with Carver are the same qualms we had a semester ago. His
affiliation with the Secret Scarabbean Society unnerved us in November. And
it did in the spring as well. While we never questioned his allegiance to
students, we don't think an elected official should meet with other elected
officials in secret.
And after endless challenges to Carver and Board of Trustee member Brandi
Wilson, we heard little vocal opposition to the proposed ag bridge. While
we are well aware that Carver sent letters to important people in
Nashville, we noticed he didn't do it with as much passion as he had for
He wasn't yelling and he wasn't angry. That passion might have given us a
better chance of scaling down the four-lane nightmare set to connect the
main and ag campuses.
Still, you won't hear us complaining too loudly about Carver's presidency.
He understood that the presidency of a 26,000-student body required
students to dedicate themselves to service. Our challenge to him was to
accept that duty responsibly. And he did.
We are in a critical time in the history of our state and our university.
Be thankful Will Carver was around to lead us through part of it.
Semester grade: A-
Published: Thu Apr 27, 2000 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 02:15 p.m.