TSU students and faculty call for fair funding

Posted at 8:48 PM, Apr 16, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Better facilities, more money for teachers, and larger scholarships – all things students and faculty at Tennessee State University said would be possible if the school was funded fairly.

Now some across campus are rallying around the issue to bring change.

United Campus Workers hosted a community forum Tuesday night at the Avon Williams campus to discuss what they called “chronic underfunding” of TSU. The event was titled "Unfair & Underfunded: The History of Land Grant Funding in Tennessee and its Impact on TSU."

Advocates said the first step was educating people about the situation. During the seminar, Dr. Lee Williams, an associate professor at TSU, addressed students and faculty in the audience. He explained TSU is a land grant institution. That means each year the school should receive matching federal and state funds. However, many at TSU said that doesn’t consistently happen.

A bill making its way through the state legislature would require the state to provide detailed reports of all land grant appropriations each year. House Bill 0823 is sponsored by TSU alumnus Rep. Harold Love, Junior.

Supporters are calling on others to reach out to their state legislators and encourage them to vote for the bill.

“We need students to get involved and be advocates for the cause,” said Secilie Jones, a Junior at TSU.

“They need to put pressure on elected officials,” said Dr. Williams. “If they believe in equality and fairness, then they should be in favor of this.”

The bill has passed in the Senate. It is scheduled to be discussed in a House committee on Apr.17.