Meeting in special telephonic session, the Tennessee Board of Regents on January 14 took up amendments to the General Personnel Policy, policy 5:01:00:00, an agenda item postponed from the December 3 regular quarterly meeting. The board voted unanimously to approve the policy as amended (attached). Under the new policy, in times of severe state budget shortfall or impoundment, the chancellor has the authority to approve requests from TBR institutions to reduce compensation, mandate furloughs without pay, and/or reduce the amount of time worked. The portion of the policy related to furloughs must be reviewed by the board on or before January 2012. Requests from institutions must include a description of the campus constituent groups represented on the committee advising the president or director on the budget reduction process. The passage of this policy does not institute a furlough or any of the other steps at any TBR campus. What the policy change does is permit TBR presidents and directors and their campus advisory groups to consider furloughs and the other steps listed as possible options for handling short-term budget shortfalls. None of these steps addresses longer-term budget issues, and they cannot become routine fixtures on any TBR campus.
The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.