UT Chancellor Beverly Davenport's firing spurs student protests, sets social media ablaze
News that Beverly Davenport had been fired Wednesday as chancellor of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville spurred student protests and set social media ablaze.
Davenport's time as the highest-paid chancellor in the school's history is slated to come to an end July 1 after just over one year on the job, UT President Joe DiPietro announced in a news release Wednesday afternoon.
Davenport will be retained as a tenured communications professor. She's set to earn roughly $1.7 million over four years in the role — even though DiPietro's scathing termination letter said she was being fired, in part, for "very poor" communication skills.
More:Students rally to support fired UT Chancellor Beverly Davenport
UT students, alumni, sports fans and other commentators didn't hold back in sharing their hot takes on the whirlwind development.
A common theme among many of the social media posts was the suggestion that Davenport's firing was punishment for her decision to opt out of Gov. Bill Haslam's plan to outsource the jobs of campus workers.
The Rock, a giant hunk of dolomite that serves as an unofficial message board for the UTK campus, was painted in the afternoon to read: "GO AWAY HASLAMS WE (HEART) BEV."
At 2:30 p.m., roughly 30 students gathered outside Andy Holt Tower to protest the decision to fire Davenport from her position as chancellor.
They held signs and chanted, "My chancellor," "We love Bev," and "Bev forev."
UT sophomore Brian McCarroll said he felt Davenport was in touch with the student body. He said he believed she listened well when it came to issues such as the hate speech painted on the Rock by members of a white nationalist group.
"She was out here, she was talking to us, she was committed to making campus the best for everyone," McCarroll said.
"She was concerned with the state of the campus, and we really had high hopes for her, so watching her get kicked out without reason was completely unacceptable to me."
Another pro-Davenport rally took place at 6 p.m. at the Rock.
Some observers were more jubilant and criticized Davenport for her role in overseeing a chaotic search for a football coach that became a national punchline.
More:5 memorable Tennessee Vols athletics moments under Chancellor Beverly Davenport