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Tech Committee in Violation of Tennessee Law

Tech Campus Space Utilization and Allocation Committee has failed to post meeting minutes online since Sept. 29, 2021, a violation of the Tennessee Open Meeting Act.  

The committee is responsible for monitoring the utilization and space allocation of academic and administrative buildings and facilities across campus. They plan and recommend changes of utilization and allocation of spaces based on academic, financial and enrollment needs, along with receiving recommendation requests for the changing or creating of new spaces. 

 In an email from  Dr. Mark Stephens, dean of the College of Graduate Studies and the director of the committee, “the administrative associate in my office keeps the official records, including the meeting dates … I found where we had two meeting[s] after the September 2021 meeting. The meetings were on June 12, 2022 and July 26, 2022. We may have had others in this time span but that is all I can find on my calendar.”  

According to article 8-44-104 of the Open Meeting Act, “the minutes of a meeting of any such governmental body shall be promptly and fully recorded, shall be open to public inspection, and shall include, but not be limited to, a record of persons present, all motions, proposals and resolutions offered, the results of any votes taken, and a record of individual votes in the event of roll call.” 

Additionally, the committee has failed to post a notice of public meetings. Article 8-44-103 Notice of Regular Meetings states, “Any such governmental body which holds a meeting previously scheduled by statute, ordinance, or resolution shall give adequate public notice of such meeting.”

The committee’s failure to keep the public informed in a prompt and detailed manner does not aid in the process of finding solutions to current campus issues. 

The Office of Communications and Marketing (OCM) was elected to move from its offices on the third floor of the RUC to the bottom of Crawford Hall. This move did not last long as half of the marketing department had to relocate to the opposite side of Crawford three weeks into settling in their office. After three relocations, it is now in Foundation Hall. 

Junior Kobe Young works on his studies on the first floor of Crawford Hall where the OCM is now located. The Office of Communications and Marketing’s moved from the RUC to Crawford, and now they are being relocated to Foundation Hall. Photo by Sarah Aku.

“In the spring, there was a campus-wide conversation about how to provide more student space in the Roaden University Center. At the time, Crawford Hall was available for flex space, so the Office of Communications and Marketing moved to Crawford,” said Bailey Phonsnasinh, Director of Brand Communications. 

Being one of Tech’s largest freshman classes, Crawford began reprogramming to have its space fully utilized as a residence hall for incoming students.   

“As Crawford fully reopened and became home to more than 100 students, OCM asked to be moved to Foundation Hall temporarily in order to allow facilities the flexibility to prioritize the needs of students moving into the building,” Phonsnasinh concluded. 

A permanent solution has not been proposed for the Office of Communications and Marketing as the last posted open minutes from the committee meetings were dated Sept. 29, 2021.