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Bill Signed By Governor Bill Lee Strips HBCU Tennessee State University Of Its Board

The Tennessee State University (TSU), the state's only publicly funded historically Black university, faced a significant change as its trustees were removed under a new law signed by Governor Bill Lee. This move, approved by a 66-25 vote in the GOP-controlled House, was criticized by Black lawmakers and community leaders who accused the majority-white state leadership of unfairly targeting TSU. 

Governor Lee, who did not comment directly on the decision, praised TSU and announced 10 new board appointees from the business community, awaiting legislative confirmation.

The change comes as TSU seeks a new president, with the current President, Glenda Glover, retiring soon. State audits have highlighted issues at TSU, including student housing shortages and financial discrepancies, without finding evidence of fraud or malfeasance. Critics argue that the problems stem from chronic underfunding, estimating a $2.1 billion shortfall over three decades, and accuse the legislature of distrust towards the Black-managed university.

"Instead of us rectifying the problems that we created through racist policies by underfunding Tennessee State University, we're now advocating to vacate their board," said Rep. Justin Pearson, a Democrat from Memphis, raising his voice as he criticized his Republican colleagues.

Efforts by Democrats to delay the vote or reduce the number of vacated board seats were overridden by the GOP majority. The state had previously allocated $250 million to TSU for infrastructure, which critics say was insufficient to address the university's needs. The decision has sparked protests from TSU supporters, highlighting a contentious debate over the university's management and funding.

Link: ABCNews


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