Law student selected for UT Knoxville Advisory Board

University of Tennessee College of Law first-year student Johnelle Simpson has been appointed to serve as the student member on the UT Knoxville Advisory Board.

During a meeting of the board on Wednesday, Interim Chancellor Wayne Davis recommended Simpson for the position.

Simpson’s term extends from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020, and he says he is honored to have been selected.

“I believe my experience working with campus administrators in a trustee capacity will be a value add to the board,” he said. “I am ready to advocate for all UT Knoxville students and move our university closer toward its goals.” 

Simpson has extensive experience in student leadership positions. He was president of the University of Georgia’s Student Government Association in 2015-16 during his senior year, and he served as a student member of the University of Georgia’s Board of Trustees. Since arriving at the University of Tennessee, Simpson has been elected as a first-year representative for the Student Bar Association and is a graduate student senate representative.

Davis said Simpson was recommended for the advisory board position by the provost, deans of the College of Graduate Studies and the College of Law, and the graduate student senate.

“He is very qualified,” Davis said. “He is fully engaged as a student, and … an emerging leader in the College of Law.” 

The UT FOCUS Act, passed by the Tennessee General Assembly in April 2018, created an advisory board for each UT campus. The boards are charged with submitting recommendations to the UT System Board of Trustees on campus-level strategic plans, operating budgets and tuition.

The board includes five public members appointed by the governor, one faculty member appointed by the campus’s faculty senate, and one student member appointed by the advisory board.

Current public board members include Alexia Poe and Tom Smith of Nashville, John Tickle of Bristol, and Syreeta Vaughn and Tim Williams of Knoxville. Biology Professor Louis Gross and Student Government Association President Ovi Kabir are also board members.