Coalition, NAACP to host meeting to address concerns about TSU

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at 7:56pm

A meeting set for Thursday evening to discuss concerns and issues over recent decisions steering the path of Tennessee State University will likely proceed without two key invitees.

The group Save TSU Community Coalition, along with the NAACP, will co-host a “teach-in” meant to address issues the coalition sees as problems for the university. The teach-in is set for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Corinthian Baptist Church on 33rd Avenue North, following a NAACP membership meeting at 6 p.m.

Dr. Sheila Peters, executive member of the NAACP Nashville branch and co-chair of the branch’s Education Committee, said the NAACP is co-hosting the teach-in as part of a “fact-finding” process following a complaint it received from STCC.

“We’re in a fact-finding phase right now,” Peters said, “and the purpose of the meeting [Thursday] is not to take any side but to provide an opportunity for individuals to share their concerns.”

The coalition claims, among other things, changes under the university’s interim president, Dr. Portia Shields, were not properly discussed and approved by the faculty.

The Tennessee Board of Regents named Shields interim president of TSU last December, after the university had been put on warning by its accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

In a release earlier this week, STCC said it had invited Shields and Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan to attend and “explain their positions on the problems at TSU.”

A message left for Shields seeking comment yielded no response, but a university spokeswoman responded later in an email.

“This event is not an official University event, nor will anyone from the University be in attendance,” said Raynetta Smith, TSU public information officer. “This group does have the right to protest and express their views about the changes being made at the University. However, all changes made at TSU have been approved by the Tennessee Board of Regents and were done so to protect the University as well as our students, faculty and staff.”

The TBR’s Morgan is currently on vacation until mid-October and therefore would not be able attend Thursday’s meeting, according to TBR Communications Director Monica Greppin.

Greppin said, however, that Morgan felt if the teach-in is to address concerns over changes to academic programs at TSU, then university officials would be better suited to address the concerns.

“But he did say that he would be happy to meet with the Education Committee co-chairs [of the NAACP Nashville branch] at a later time,” Greppin said.

Regarding the teach-in, the NAACP’s Peters said, “We hope to educate all persons that are there, and from a branch standpoint we want to become more knowledgeable ourselves so we know where we need to proceed with the complaint.

“We ultimately want to hear from both sides but that may not be at a public forum,” she added.

A draft of a proposed NAACP resolution calling for the governor, the TBR and Morgan to reverse changes made by Shields and begin a search for a permanent TSU president has been presented to the Tennessee State Conference of the NAACP, but the Nashville branch has yet to approve it.

Peters said the branch would be taking a closer look at the resolution in the future.

In its own release sent out last week, TSU touted a record enrollment of 9,165 students for the current academic year, the highest mark in its 100-year history.

Thursday’s teach-in, one in a monthly series organized by STCC, will be held at the Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church at 819 33rd Ave. N. at the corner of 33rd Avenue and Batavia Street.

12 Comments on this post:

By: Loner on 9/29/11 at 4:57

So, what was the nature of the complaint? The article dances around the fundamental issue without identifying the crux of the problem...is it too taboo to even reveal?

Isn't the Corinthian Missionary Baptist church operated by Pastor Fuzz? He's the dime-dropping preacher, right? What is Fuzz's real name? Who is that guy?

By: 742180 on 9/29/11 at 6:25

Just scream, make a lot of noise, threaten to boycott and as usual you will get all of the funding you don't deserve.
If TSU were not subsidized and propped up by outside sources it would go the way of other failed institutions. How long, oh how long can this go on..Sink or swim on your own.
So TSU wants to begin having Football games at Hale Stadium. Didn''t they do this for years? It became a war zone and no one wanted to got there. And it will again. A million plus to renovate?!? Insane! It was renovated about 8 years ago only to sit there as a practice field.
The NAACP screams and we jump. It is comparable to a spoiled child. Reminds me of a comment I once heard, 'we avoid revolution in America by paying off our poor'!! I'd love to see some politician come up with the nerve to tell them to clean their own house, then ask for help.......

By: Kosh III on 9/29/11 at 6:28

"If TSU were not subsidized and propped up by outside sources "

Let's stop all state funding for MTSU and UT also. Please have a nice racist day.

By: Wild Bill on 9/29/11 at 6:32

Wild Bill

The nature of the complaint is that the The Tennessee Board of Regents and Ms Shields are upping the standards for both the students and the professors. And the reason for this is the extremely poor performance of their students in trying to get certifications in their field of studies post graduation.

The NAACP should be applauding this effort to increase excellence but sadly they want to call into questions those who are charged with making TSU a real university.

James Nix, I know it might not be "politically correct" but Loner is right you left a gaping hole in this story and I have the feeling you or your editor left this critical element out on purpose.

By: conservarage on 9/29/11 at 7:05

@Kosh - someone comments on TSU, you call them racist. typical drivel.

By: TRHJR on 9/29/11 at 7:49

good ole Kosh its all RACIST .... Why don`t TSU Alumni poney up the money ... they will not ... they want the public to pay for it ... I m all for defunding UT & MTSU

By: frodo on 9/29/11 at 8:16

So which way is it? Is TSU "the black university," or is it a state university for all Tennesseans? Apparently the school administration and the Board of Regents wants it to be a fully accredited and fully credible school for all Tennesseans. That the NAACP thinks they have a special interest and the fact that Kosh sees racism in every decision about TSU tells me NAACP and Kosh view TSU as "our black university." Let's settle which it is and act accordingly. My vote is let it be a school for all, and let the NAACP have no more say in it than the Tea Party or the Belle Meade garden club.

By: frodo on 9/29/11 at 8:18

...and I agree with Loner. Bad journalism. Don't write a story about squabbles over changes and then not tell us what the changes were.

By: govskeptic on 9/29/11 at 11:41

TSU is on the verge of being an uncredited institution. That has very
serious consequences, and this is not from the State of Tenn, but an
organization in charge of that one responsibility for all colleges. If not
mistaken, Pell Grants would not be allowed, Federal Grants would be
denied, and many other problems.
These problems will have to be worked out and corrected by the University
and the State, protest and demands from NAACP or anyother outside
organizations will only make matter worse! Current enrollment is not
as large as it was immediately after the Federal Court required the
consolidation of UT-Nashville into TSU. Surprising they forgot about
that one time spike in students!

By: BigPapa on 9/29/11 at 1:43

That place is such a terrible joke. I can hope the current administration can shrug off the NAACP and those hangers on and shake down artists and move forward and at least TRY to be a descent school with a better academic reputation.

By: jonw on 9/29/11 at 5:50

It appears that the STCC wants to save TSU by "dumbing it down."
Dumbed down = loss of accreditation
Loss of accreditation = no Pell Grants & no guaranteed loans
No Pell Grants & no guaranteed loans = goodbye University

By: anjnew on 9/30/11 at 7:43

This year, I transferred to TSU from MTSU. I am a white student in my Jr. year getting a degree in accounting. I think the new interim president is doing an awesome job. I hope those decisions are not reversed. TSU is close, I live an hour away from MTSU, I need a school close by. So far, TSU academic level is far greater than MTSU. I have been very impressed with my courses and the staff, they are as good as any. I was very skeptical in the beginning and heard they dummy the courses down but I don’t find this to be the case. I also see that MTSU is just as bad as TSU when it comes to security, you just don’t hear that much about what goes on at MTSU it gets kept out of the news. I feel very safe at TSU. I hope the NAACP does not get involved and lets this school get back on its feet. TSU has great potential. I know many of my friends feel the same way. TSU can offer a lot to Nashville and be a great college. I just hope keeping it "our black college" doesn't interfere with its potential. I am all for keeping heritage but don’t let heritage keep it from falling behind and closing its doors. A city as big as Nashville needs a college...one that’s affordable.