Alumni Complaints


I appreciate the time you have taken from your day to e-mail me back.

Since I have read your largely copy-pasted comments already, I know you are getting a fair amount of feedback about this topic.

I would add to your comments the Alumni Memorial Building’s restoration. It is a facility with rich history and restoration to be proud of.

I would like to take you up on the offer of discussing the steps leading to the master plan in its current iteration.

You’ve been a good sport in communicating with me and I respect that. It’s actually more than I expected from a University famous for the "Big Orange Screw."

Out of my respect and appreciation for your engagement, I feel I should advise you that your comment "the truth is they have not been historic in the original sense for a long time" comes across as arrogant.

I don’t mean to be harsh, but I think you should be aware of the effect of this comment, especially if you are sending it out as a standard response on this topic. In fact, I’m using a friend’s words reacting to your copy-pasted comments after reading them last week.

My friend is a retired employee of the University with expertise in history. The reason it comes across to my friend as arrogant is because it is not apparent that you have the credentials to make a determination about the historic significance of a site or property.

Also, your comment that the "homes are not historic" on account of their being butchered into apartments is unjustifiable. I live in a historic neighborhood in Knoxville. It’s on the National Register. Two historic homes split into apartments in my neighborhood were restored in 2007 by Knox Heritage.

Take note of the transformation of multi-family homes back into single family homes in my neighborhood.

Finally the home you purchased for 1.1 million dollars looked pretty lovingly restored to me. The gray one could use some TLC, but I sure am envious of the beautiful porch and interior of the white one.

I make a point to visit other Southern Universities when I travel. With each historic home destroyed, UT is losing its unique character.

A stack of bricks looks the same in Starkville Mississippi, Athens Georgia, or Gainesville, Florida as it does in Knoxville, Tennessee. No amount of visual cues, branding or architectural detail can change that a brick is a brick.

History, traditions, and values are what distinguish UT-Knoxville from other SEC schools.

I’m afraid the master plan is eroding all three of those points of character.

We need to preserve the character of the University. That includes the residential communities and undeniably historic properties in Fort Sanders.

I’d like to talk with you either in person or on the phone to bring me up to speed on the decision making process that led to the master plan. Please let me know what might be convenient for you.




About Tanner Jessel

I am a recent M.S. in Information Science graduate from the University of Tennessee School of Information Science. I was formerly a graduate research assistant funded by DataONE (Data Observation Network for Earth). Prior, I worked for four years as a content lead and biodiversity scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey's Biodiversity Informatics Program. Building on my work experience in biodiversity and environmental informatics, my work with DataONE focused on exploring the nature of scientific collaborations necessary for scientific inquiry. I also conducted research concerning user experience and usability, and assisted in development of member nodes with an emphasis on spatial data and infrastructure. I assisted with research designed to understand sociocultural issues within collaborative research communities. Through August 1, 2014, I was based at the Center for Information and Communication Studies at the University of Tennessee School of Information Science in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Posted on March 2, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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