Tennessee Smokies Proposal to Relocate Stadium

Tennessee Smokies owner Randy Boyd proposed last month to relocate the baseball team by 2019.

In the proposal sent to Sevierville and Sevier County, Boyd suggested the Double-A baseball team could remain playing in Sevierville through the 2018 season.

Boyd, the state’s economic and community development commissioner, recently purchased approximately 7 acres in Knoxville’s Old City for $6 million, fueling speculation he might bring baseball back to Knoxville.

A July 19 email from Sevier County Economic Development Executive Director Allen Newton cited information from Boyd and said a stadium in Knoxville would cost in the “$50 to $60 million range.”

Newton’s comments and Boyd’s proposal were in emails obtained by the News Sentinel via a public records request. Knoxville officials and Boyd began discussions on moving the Smokies to downtown Knoxville from Sevierville as early as 2014, emails obtained in a separate public records request show.

In the emails, Newton said he was “shocked” that “Knoxville and Knox County would even make a proposal to Randy Boyd Sports,” knowing significant years remain on the Tennessee Smokies lease in Sevierville. The lease expires in 2025.

UT welcomes its largest freshmen class in past 30 years

The admissions office at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville has estimated that UT’s first-time freshmen enrollment has increased over 2.2 percent between fall 2015 and fall 2016.

According to Amy Blakely, assistant director of Media Relations, 4,825 first-time freshmen have enrolled for the 2016 through 2017 school year as of Aug. 4.

There were only 4,719 first-time freshmen that were enrolled for the 2015 through 2016 school year, according to last years fact book.

UT estimated that there will be more than 1,300 transfer students (other freshmen) enrolling for the fall.

This year is the largest freshmen class to enroll in the past 30 years. It also marks the sixth consecutive year of growth.

“We’ve improved our graduation rate,” said Blakely. “As we graduate more students, we have room to admit and enroll more freshmen and transfer students.”

According to top25.utk, between 2010 and 2015, the university’s six-year graduation rate rose 9 percent, the ACT scores of our incoming freshmen grew to reflect those at the peer institutions, and first-year student retention rose by 3 percent.

“We had one of the largest, most qualified applicant pools ever and we’re proud to welcome some of our state’s and our nation’s best and brightest freshmen to our campus,” said Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek.

Based on the estimated data, 78.8 percent of the freshmen are first-time students and 21.2 percent are classified as other freshmen.

According to the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment from 2015, 21.7 percent of the total student body were freshmen.

Graph A show’s the total headcount enrollment for the 2015 school year.

In 2015, 98.9 percent of the freshmen were full-time and the other 1.1 percent were part-time.

Based on the 2015 data, there has been a decrease by .7 percent in full-time first-time freshmen enrollment for the 2016 school year.

As of Aug. 4, there were 159 part-time freshmen enrolled for 2016—which is eight times greater than the 19 that were enrolled in 2015.

Graph B shows the full-time equivalent enrollment for 2015.

“Strategic efforts to involve more alumni, current students, and faculty and staff in outreach initiatives contributed to the 17,500-plus applications received from students seeking admission this year,” said Associate Provost for Enrollment Management Kari Alldredge.

Cheek went on a nationwide bus tour to share what the volunteer community felt like with prospective students and families.

“I think these were incredible ways to raise awareness about UT and recruit the outstanding students from our home state and beyond,” Alldredge said. “By attending these and other admissions events, undecided students and prospective students learned about the opportunities they can find at UT.

The incoming 2016 class is about 18 percent minority. They represent 41 states and 11 countries.

According to the release from media relations, about 83 percent of this year’s freshmen are from Tennessee.

The average ACT score is 27 and about 10 percent of the freshmen are enrolled in UT’s honors program.

According to Blakely, about 31 percent of the incoming freshmen are eligible for Pell grants. And about 96 percent of in-state freshmen qualify for the for the state’s lottery-funded HOPE Scholarship.

Classes do not start until Wednesday, Aug. 17, but some students have started to return to campus last Friday. UT expects over 7,200 students to live on campus.

“Many of our new freshmen are arriving on campus this week with a clear sense of what it means to be a Volunteer,” said Alldredge.

Enrollment numbers are not official until the 14th day of class.

More information about enrollment can be found here.




Taboo Sex Offender Registry Brought to Attention

The Tennessee Sex Offender Registry is necessary but not something most think about very often, according to a few West Knoxville residents.

According to the TBI’s map offender search, there are 20 offenders within a two-mile radius of the Woodlands West apartment complex.

“I’ve never even looked at the registry. It’s not something I think about hardly ever. I think because I am a big man and don’t often feel victimized or feel like I should watch my back,” said Adam Eichelberger “So I am slightly surprised to learn about the offenders that live nearby.”

Eichelberger is a UT student who lives in West Knoxville at the Woodlands West apartment complex.

West Knoxville resident Connor McCallum, who also lives in the same complex as Eichelberger, was surprised by the number of offenders in a two-mile radius of his home.

“I think the registry is a good thing to have because if I was moving somewhere with my small children, I would want to know about the people living by us,” said McCallum.

Eichelberger thinks the registry is a good thing for the sake of transparency in the communities, but he also has a some reservations about it.

“I think it is a little unfair for the offenders maybe because they cannot escape their crimes even after they serve their time, but honestly, I don’t have any respect for sex offenders anyways,” said Eichelberger.

McCallum feels the registry is unfair to some people simply because of the type of offense they committed.

“It’s pretty awful that someone has to be registered as a sex offender for peeing outside  [indecent exposure] because then every time they move somewhere they have to go door-to-door explaining who they are and why,” said McCallum.

The offenses listed on the registry include:

  • Sexual battery
  • Statutory rape
  • Aggravated prostitution
  • Sexual exploitation of a minor
  • Indecent exposure upon a third or subsequent conviction
  • Spousal sexual battery

Both Eichelberger and McCallum have never looked at the list nor have they been notified of any offenders living near them at any point in their lives.

More information can be found about the law at:                  https://www.tn.gov/assets/entities/tbi/attachments/2014%20Sex%20Offender%20Law.pdf

More information about the registry and a list of offenders can be found at:                  https://www.tn.gov/tbi/topic/sex-offender-registry-search

20 Years of Researching the at Risk Youth of Palestine

Brian Barber has been researching the well being of Palestine youth for 20 years.

Professor Barber narrated his continuous research program on the youth and society of Palestine Wednesday evening at Hodges Library.

Barber is the founding director of the Center for the Study of Youth at UT and works in the Department of Child and Family Studies in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences.

“The Evolution of a Research Career on Children and Families at Risk” is the fourth and last of a lecture series given by Barber.

Over 20 years were spent on his research project. However, in 2009 Barber received a $1 million research grant from a foundation in Switzerland. He was able to travel back to Palestine and collect more data from the citizens.

Barber’s lecture drew a crowd of around 15 people. During his lecture, he asked the audience to name two people—one who is doing well, and one who is not.

“What is the definition of someone doing well?” Barber asked.

The answer to this question varied from person to person. Some said that it was financial, while others said that it was physical.

Barber and his research team asked the people of Palestine the same question.

According to Barber, the people of Palestine based someone’s well being mostly on politics.

“The project included a lot of very tedious work,” said Barber, “it also required a lot of time because you, mostly myself, would have to take a lot of breaks from coding all the data.”

Throughout the seminar, Barber referred to his list called the “Principles of Scholarship.” The list includes:

  1. Extend yourself
  2. Respect instincts
  3. Know the territory
  4. Specialize
  5. Listen
  6. Be skeptical

“My research was successful because I employed all of these principles,” said Barber.

Barber encouraged those who want to pursue a career in research to follow the principles of scholarship and says that if they do, they will be successful.

A full narration of Barbers journey and discoveries of his work can be found in his books: Adolescents and war: How youth deal with political violence; Picking up the pieces of war: Joint efforts for youth well being, Volumes 1-5, One heart, so many stones: The story of Palestinian Youth.

Professor and Distinguished Historian Speaks at UT about the Idea of a Jewish State


Professor and distinguished historian Michael Brenner spoke on modern Israel at the McClung Museum on Monday night.

Brenner’s lecture titled, “The Idea of a Jewish State from Herzl to Netanyahu,” drew a crowd of around 80 people.

“[It is important for people of all religions to come to the lecture because] Israel is in the press so much,” said Brenner. “There is so much reporting on Israel and people should want to get more background to understand it.”

Among the crowd were at least 10 individuals protesting Brenner’s speech, Almost halfway through the speech, they stood up with a sign that read: “Israel is an apartheid state.”


Brenner said that he has never had anyone protest during his lectures before.

He acknowledged the protestors and said while they had a right to do that, he disagrees with them.

“I think it is wrong—not everything is great in Israel,” said Brenner, “A lot of people think that there are maybe some democratic structures that are in danger. But I think, for now at least, it is far from that situation.”

There is about 20 percent Arab population in Israel, and they have all the rights on paper, but in reality it is way different.

“Obviously one big thing is the army. Arab’s don’t serve in the army, “ said Brenner, “but that’s because you don’t want to create a loyalty conflict. But it’s an agreement between Israelis and Arabs.”

He agrees that not everyone in Israel is equal. According to Brenner, an apartheid state is when the state rates part of the population a second rate and they cannot achieve certain things. He said Israel is not there currently.

“[The most important takeaway from this lecture is that] the idea of a Jewish state is actually an idea that started long before the Holocaust,” said Brenner, “and had there been a Jewish state, many could have been rescued.”

The Jewish state became successful in 1948 and has remained a democratic state since.

The next Judaic Studies lecture on modern Jewish literature will be held on March 9th at 7:30.

Darwin’s Birthday Party Celebration


Darwin Day, in remembrance of Charles Darwin, was hosted by The McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture, began on Mon. Feb. 9.

The weeklong celebrations consisted of a variety of different lectures and Darwin-themed events that led up to his birthday on Sat. Feb. 12.

The Coordinator of Academic Programs, Lindsey Wainwright, put Darwin’s birthday party at McClung together.

The party’s events included giant papier-mâché puppets of Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace, pin the tooth on the dinosaur, fossil lectures and birthday cake.

“Darwin day is a huge deal to the university and McClung because it’s not just the human origins—it’s about the scientific background and evidence of the human origins,” said Wainwright.

According to Wainwright, it is important that we celebrate Darwin’s birthday because he is an important figure in scientific discovery and that it’s besides being a celebration of learning, discovery, questioning and learning about the natural world.

“It’s fun to have a figure that’s well known and celebrate the continuation of scientific discovery,” said Wainwright.

Last year was the first year that McClung hosted the birthday party. It was also the first year that the academic programs unit became a part of the museum.

Last year, they had more people come than expected—which is great, except they ran out of cake, according to Wainwright.

“It’s just reminding us that scientific inquiry is fun and exciting and it’s an opportunity to have minds of all ages coming to the museum and make discoveries of their own. Hopefully this is a [step] into engaging with the museum and learning about science,” said Wainwright.

Wainwright got interested in Darwin Day celebration specifically because she saw it as a way to bring students into the museum. The academic program unit is a way to make closer connections with research and teaching at the university.

“Our goal with this event, is to get students in the door. A lot of students at UT don’t really know that much about the McClung Museum, they’re not familiar with our collections of the kind of research that happens here,” said Wainwright.

The birthday party was an opportunity to have a fun and lighthearted event that would help students become more familiar with what the museum has to offer and Darwin’s impact on scientific discovery.