Student petition now in hands of Trevecca administration

Students meet with an administrator in regards to the non-renewal of an education professor’s contract

By Morgan Daniels

Six students met on Wednesday with an administrator to plead their case for a Trevecca education professor whose contract was not renewed for next year.

Supporters of Dusteen Knotts, an associate professor of education who was told by administrators that her contract is not being renewed next year, have created a petition that they said includes 90 education majors’ signatures.

The students spent about 30 minutes with Carol Maxson, associate provost and dean of academic affairs, offering examples of the ways Knotts has impacted their lives while at Trevecca.

They also presented the petition to Maxson.

Cory Phillips, a junior physical education major and one of the students who spearheaded the petition, said that the petition was to help the students’ voices be heard.

Phillips and other students who attended the meeting wouldn’t say what the petition specifically says or ask for, nor would they provide a copy to the TrevEchoes. They said they are asking for “further investigation on the matter.”

“We just hope that our voices will not fall on deaf ears,” Phillips said.

Phillips said Maxson listened to the students, but did not give much feed back during the meeting.

“Legally she is bound by law not to talk about the situation so we are left to pray about it,” he said.

Maxson said that even if it the administration was not bound by law they would still take the same vow of confidence.

“My heart just broke yesterday for the students because I can’t say anything,” she said. “But it’s about preserving the dignity of the individuals—that’s what we’re about.”

Knotts confirmed last month that she was told by Trevecca administrators that her annual contract would not be renewed.

Knotts, who is non-tenured, has taught special education courses at Trevecca for four years.

A recent Facebook event called Prayer for Dr. Knotts was created to give awareness of today’s meeting and promote a campus-wide prayer. The event invited around 300 Trevecca affiliates and now has 122 confirmed guests.

Maxson said she appreciated the students feedback.

“These students are extremely respectful and professional in their approach,” she said. “They really made me very proud of them.”

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