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Bredesen seeks UT cuts as vet school faces accreditation loss

Staff Report • Nov 26, 2008 at 12:00 AM

The Knoxville News Sentinel is reporting that Gov. Phil Bredesen has rejected a University of Tennessee plea for financial help in upgrading its School of Veterinary Medicine, which faces loss of accreditation, and urged higher education leaders to speed up their budget-cutting efforts.

UT President John Petersen told the governor that the veterinary school is "at risk" of losing accreditation unless it can build separate facilities for diseased animals at a cost of $20.9 million. UT is making an "aggressive effort" to raise money from private sources, but some state help is needed, he said.

"Such a loss (of accreditation) would be devastating to the university and to the state," said Petersen, adding the funding should be a priority even in a tight budget year because of the long-term impact.

But Bredesen said threats to strip accreditation raise the "suspicion of one hand washing the other," with special interests of a given profession - in this case, veterinarians on an accreditation board - using the threat to prod state officials into providing money.

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