A consultant, hired by the Board of Trustees, spent the last two weeks doing private one-on-one interviews with staff and with trustees to write an assessment of Petersen's tenure. The board will then use the report to give Petersen a new contract or start a search for a new president. Petersen's contract has expired.
Sources say some of the interviews are not very flattering, coming on the heels of several high-profile public relations snafus in the midst of a budget crisis: expensive office renovations at Andy Holt Tower, almost $500,000 in bonuses to development executives and a flap between a major donor and Petersen's wife.
The Knoxville faculty remains upset about the firing of popular chancellor Loren Crabtree. Campus sources say relations have strained to the point that three executives who report to Petersen have been asked not to speak to him again.
The Trustees had earlier told Petersen to stop using the UT plane to go back and forth to Chattanooga and Nashville.