By Emmanuel Freeman
NASHVILLE, TN (TSU News Service) — State lawmakers got a taste of Tennessee State University’s excellence at the annual TSU Day at the Capitol on Tuesday.
More than 150 TSU students, administrators, faculty, staff and others packed a conference room on the 8th floor of the Cordell Hull Building to hear TSU President Glenda Glover kick-off the event. Before the official kick-off, lawmakers saw displays of the university’s diverse research and academic offerings, including robotics and giveaways like White Dogwood trees grown on the university farm, that has become a prized and highly requested staple during the annual visits.
“I am so pleased to see our lawmakers, along with our students, our faculty our staff, our alumni and friends. Thank you for joining us,” Glover said. “This is our seventh annual TSU Day at the Capitol. This event has become one of the institution’s most successful outreach programs. We take this opportunity to share with the lawmakers the great things that are going on at TSU, and to share with them our needs, as we continue the proud legacy of training and nurturing out future – our students.”
Before the kick-off, President Glover made courtesy visits to the offices of Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R-Crossville) and several key members of the Tennessee General Assembly. Student ambassadors also used the time to deliver packages of TSU mementos to the offices of lawmakers, as tokens of appreciation from the university.
In her speech, Glover told the lawmakers that past and future appropriations have allowed TSU to maintain its longstanding legacy of “providing education for our students.”
“Thank you for being a part of this day and for money you have given us,” she said. “However, we have some tremendous needs. So, we are here asking you to help us meet those needs. We want to improve our campus’ age-old infrastructure, we need scholarships for students, we need to make sure that electricity is in order for next year.”
Several of the lawmakers followed Glover with greetings and congratulations to TSU and its leaders for the “great work going on at TSU.”
“I appreciate you all being here today,” House Speaker Cameron Sexton said. “We are going to work well to make sure that we move Tennessee forward and keep doing the things we can agree on, such as education.”
TSU alums Sen. Brenda Gilmore, and Rep. Harold M. Love, Jr., two strong supporters of the university, promised to keep TSU at the top of the agenda.
“I am so happy to see you all up here. It means the world to me,” Gilmore said. “As you (students) walk these halls and meet the legislators, tell them about your studies and what you plan to do when you graduate. That helps us as we work hard to get your rightful funding.”
Love added: “It does our heart well to see our students, faculty, staff and alumni here with us on Capitol Hill. We need your voice to move TSU. So, I encourage you to keep telling us what needs to be changed in policy.”
In an oratorical presentation, Mr. TSU Damyr Moore moved lawmakers with a call for proportionate funding for HBCUs, arguing that the matrix used to determine funding, such as retention, enrollment and on-time degree completion, are not the best indicators by which to measure HBCUs.
“I propose proportionate funding for HBCUs and PWIs, or predominantly white institutions, alike, as well as increased funding for scholarships and funding for pre-college summer bridge programs,” said Moore, a senior mass communication major from Atlanta.
Also making remarks was Katelyn Thompson, president of the TSU Student Government Association. Among other lawmakers who spoke at the ceremony were Reps. Antonio Parkinson (District 98) and Barbara Cooper (District 86), a TSU alum.