Group sues TBR, claims it didn't comply with open meeting laws

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 11:50pm

Several individuals, including members of the Save Tennessee State University Community Coalition, filed a lawsuit against the Tennessee Board of Regents on Wednesday, claiming the board failed to comply with open meeting laws.

Ray and Ellie Richardson of Old Hickory, Gertrude Scruggs of Memphis, Celestine Lowe of Memphis, and Neal McAlpin Jr. of Nashville claim the TBR didn’t let them make public comments during a June 24, 2011, meeting.

The Save TSU Community Coalition has been outspoken about what they perceive as the mishandling of TSU, governed by the TBR. The coalition has hosted “teach-ins” over the past year, including one that partnered with the NAACP.

The members of the group claim that actions by the TBR effectively prevented any open discussion regarding policies related to TSU. The plaintiffs also say that TSU is in “disarray” under the direction of TBR.

“The plaintiffs seek to remedy this problem by actively participating in the meetings to focus on making Tennessee State University a better institution,” the lawsuit states.

The Tennessee Open Meetings Act doesn’t require that governmental meetings allow public comment. But TBR does have a policy that allows members of the public to submit a request 20 days prior to a meeting in order to comment. The request is then reviewed and either approved or denied.

The coalition also claims that the TBR held committee meetings in private regarding TSU without notifying the public. The TBR typically releases committee and quarterly meeting information to media outlets and posts information on its website.

The TBR hadn’t been notified of the lawsuit as of Wednesday afternoon.

TSU is in the midst of celebrating its 100th year and searching for a new school president.

6 Comments on this post:

By: joe41 on 6/21/12 at 7:25

I think they may have a point. I can't see where the Board of Regents has actually helped make TSU a better University. And it is a shame. We should have a top notch state university in this town!

By: Left-of-Local on 6/21/12 at 9:16

The TBR doesn't help make ANYTHING better. They are an over-paid and self-serving group with no place in their core values for the education and enlightenment of other humans. They are there for the money and the social-climbing and power.

By: jonw on 6/21/12 at 9:52

"The plaintiffs also say that TSU is in “disarray” under the direction of TBR."

If an institution is in disarray, could that be a fault of the Institution?
When TSU took over Univ. of Tennessee Nashville, that was suppose to solve all their problems. What happened?

By: Rocket99 on 6/22/12 at 6:56

When TSU took over the UT Downtown Campus it was to make their student population more diverse. Didn't work. TSU is viewed by most as an African-American institution. One guess is TBR views that institution as second rate. They would rather focus on their gems like MTSU and ETSU than the ones needing help and support.

@Left-of-Local, if you think TBR is overpaid, you need to look at the UT system. The rank and file TBR employees are not overpaid. Can't speak to the "Directors".

By: govskeptic on 6/22/12 at 8:47

TSU has their own institution to look at first before suing anyone. The hiring
of incompetents in so many areas especially financial should be the first
inspection. The delusional vision of the Federal Judge in the takeover
of UT-Nashville, and the pathetic and non-response of the state set the
current and past many years in motion. Gov. McWherter made TSU a
top priority for years in capital spending, but the selection of Presidents
on strictly racial grounds versus merit and true accomplishment hasn't
helped either! Is this a case of an unmentioned attorney looking for
a huge fee from the taxpayers, or one of merit by truly interested Plaintiffs?

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