The controversy surrounding Monday’s arrest of a former Faculty Senate chair during a meeting at Tennessee State University has spilled over into the search for a new school president.
Former Faculty Senate chair and assistant professor Jane Davis, who has been critical of TSU interim president Portia Shields, was arrested after refusing to leave a Faculty Senate meeting Monday morning. She was charged with disorderly conduct.
After Davis was escorted to the campus police department, the Faculty Senate voted to remove Davis from her chair position.
Later, on Monday afternoon, the Tennessee Board of Regents released the 23-person presidential search advisory committee that will play a role in selecting the university’s next president. One of the appointments was a “to be determined” Faculty Senate representative.
Davis received a letter from TBR Chancellor John Morgan asking her to be a part of the committee and she accepted the invitation, but that all changed after she was voted out of her position following the arrest.
“The advisory committee typically includes at least two faculty members. One is the chair person of the faculty assembly,” TBR spokeswoman Monica Greppin-Watts said. “Because of what we heard about the vote [to remove Jane Davis], we’re waiting to hear from the faculty senate at TSU about who the chairperson is.”
Davis claims Shields and the Faculty Senate broke the law by ousting her, but didn’t say for sure whether legal action was pending.
“I think they created legal action, to be honest,” Davis said. “My plan is I teach, I love teaching. That’s my career. Basically, my calling is as an educator. There’s no difference in that, for me.”
Davis also refutes a TSU spokesman’s version of the events surrounding her arrest. She claims that she didn’t become “disorderly” but rather refused to leave her seat. A TSU Police Department incident report backs up that claim.
“Davis was asked to leave the meeting by President Shields, and TSU Police Officers were called to remove her,” the report stated. “I asked her to leave twice and Davis was noncompliant by remaining seated. Davis was removed from the meeting, and once out of the office, she was cooperative.”
The presidential search advisory meeting is set to meet for the first time on Aug. 27 at 1 p.m. A related public forumn will be held beginning at 11 a.m. in Poag Auditorium. The 23 members of TSU's presidential search advisory committee are:
Greg Duckett, chair, TBR board member
Paul Montgomery, TBR board member
Emily Reynolds, TBR board member
Robert (Bob) P. Thomas, TBR board member
Faculty Senate Representative (to be determined)
Terry Likes, faculty representative, communications department chair
Linda Guthrie, faculty representative, interim associate dean, College of Education
Martene Stanberry, faculty representative, assistant professor
David Rawles, student representative, president of Student Government Association
Danicia Hayes, student representative, Miss Tennessee State University
Sandra Hunt, alumni representative
Leonard Stephens, alumni representative
Jewel Jordan, alumni representative, affiliate broker at ERA Chamberwood Realty Group
Yvonne Sanders, support staff representative, Procurement and Business Services
S. Keith Hargrove, administrative representative, dean of College of Engineering
Charles Sueing, business community representative, president or Sueing Insurance Agency/Nationwide
Jacky Akbari, community-at-large representative, Nashville Career Advancement Center/division of Mayor’s Office
L. Vincent Williams, community-at-large representative, retired deputy attorney general
Joann North, community-at-large representative
Melvin Malone, community-at-large representative, chair of Tennessee State University Foundation
Rita Sanders Geier, community-at-large representative, former faculty member
Ron Corbin, community-at-large representative, retired field VP at Allstate Insurance Company
Gari S. Cowan, community-at-large representative, manager of Global Staffing at Caterpillar Financial Services