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‘Vote of No Confidence’ Looms Over Tech VP, Rumors of State Investigation

Some faculty and staff got raises exceeding the 1-7% approved by BoT. Photo by Sarah Aku.

A “Vote of No Confidence” in Tennessee Tech’s Vice President is looming from the Faculty Senate after discrepancies in salary distribution were found.

The discrepancies in last year’s raise allotments have been a topic of discussion after it was discovered that some faculty and staff members received raises exceeding the 1-7% approved by the Board of Trustees (BoT) in March of 2022  for the 2021-2022 school year – some receiving upwards of 9-32%.

In the March BoT meeting, merit-based raises between 1-7% were approved for individual faculty members, and any single unit or department was to not exceed a 4% average in increases; however, eight units saw increases exceeding that.

The inconsistencies were found soon after the BoT approval, and Faculty Senate members began to inquire about rumors of the “excessive” salary increases in April.

“One key concern among Senators is that many of the large raises appear in a single unit, not Academic Affairs which is the largest unit on campus,” April 4 Faculty Senate meeting minutes said.

Data shows Academic Affairs saw only a 3% increase, while Planning and Finance saw a 9% increase.

After the April 4 meeting, Internal Audit initiated their own investigation into the matters – but things have since escalated.

Later in April, the senate motioned  a “Vote of No Confidence” in Vice President Dr. Claire Stinson, however, the motion was later tabled pending the results of the investigation. 

Stinson is the vice president for the Office of Planning and Finance and serves as the is the chief business and fiscal officer for the university. Other university functions that fall under Planning and Finance include major areas within our division are Facilities and Business Services, Financial Services, Human Resource Services, Environmental Services, and Information Technology Services – many of which had employees receiving raises exceeding the 7% cap set by the BoT.

A question that begs to be answered is that whether a conflict of interest exists within planning and finance.

Senators asked President Oldham about the viability of an organizational chart change that would remove Human Resources – who doles out the raises – out from under planning and finance the and Oldham, according to meeting minutes said he was “agnostic” about the suggestion. 

With the first Faculty Senate meeting just around the corner, Internal Audit has not yet concluded their investigation, and it is rumored that it has been turned over to the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, who investigates waste and fraud.

Comptroller spokesperson John Dunn could not confirm or deny the allegations of such an investigation into the matter.

The Comptroller’s Office has broad authority to review public colleges and universities including Tennessee Tech,” Dunn said. “It is our policy to not comment further.”


Last Updated: September 20, 2022.