Tennessee State University Reveals Its Plans for $250 Million Received From the State

In 2021, a joint committee of the Tennessee State Legislature found that historically Black Tennessee State University had been shortchanged on budget allocations dating back to the 1950s. In 1913, the legislature stipulated that Tennessee State should receive 25 percent of the federal land grant funds allocated to the state. But from 1957 to 2007, the historically Black university did not receive land grant allocations. The legislative committee said that Tennessee State was entitled to between $150 million and $544 million.

An agreement was reached to grant the university $250 million. The university recently announced what it plans to do with the money.

The funds will be used for capital improvement projects for six structures on campus. Many of the campus structures have gone without improvements for decades. The funds will provide for building renovations and upgrades to electrical and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.

State Rep. Harold Love, Jr. was instrumental in securing funds that had been withheld for decades. Love, who is also a university alumnus, believes the enhancements will play a greater role in attracting world-class students and faculty.

“This is a start of a multi-year project to make sure we invest in facilities at Tennessee State University. If we are providing a high-quality education, we must provide the facilities that are state of the art,” Love said. “These upgrades and improvements will help to sure that all of our students are equipped with all they need to be able to be great scholars and our faculty to be able to be great instructors.”

Dr. Learotha Williams, noted historian and TSU history professor, says President Glenda Glover and state lawmakers are to be commended for working together to right a wrong. He contends, most importantly, the funds are available now instead of being embroiled in a lengthy legal battle like in Mississippi and Maryland with its HBCUs. “While I believe there are several factors that led to the state reaching an understanding and common ground with TSU, the efforts of President Glover and Rep. Love as the drum majors of justice to make this happen, can’t be underscored, said Dr. Williams.

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