by Erika Glover
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) —$544 million in funding withheld from Tennessee State University. One lawmaker said a committee reporter uncovered that number and there could be more.
FOX 17 News asked state leaders what they’re doing to ensure the university receives the funding it deserves.
State Representative Harold Love, Jr. said the funding could provide more academic programs and competitive salaries for faculty and staff. However, he admits it’s going to be a process because the state’s budget for this fiscal year already passed back in spring.
Wednesday, June 30 marked a final meeting for House and Senate members who are part of the Joint Land Grant Funding Study Committee. Their goal centered around possible actions that could be taken to restore TSU’s missing funding.
A copy of their findings goes to Governor Lee and a final report is due September 1st. Rep. Harold Love, Jr. said his father initially issued the same calls to action during his time in office more than 50 years ago.
“A report was made in 1970. A committee was formed to highlight the underfunding of the university. Those recommendations were not followed.”
TSU is a state school which is why Love said ultimately the responsibility lies within the legislative and executive branches. Committee members found there were times when the requirement for the state to match federal government funding was not included in the state budget.
“Tennessee State was formed because Black students were not allowed to enroll in the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Now you have funding that’s supposed to go to both institutions in equitable manner but we’ve identified instances where there was no money put in the budget for TSU.”
When it comes to the governor, Love said he believes Bill Lee is on board. He said that’s based on conversations with the governor to ensure that state institution is not treated differently than any other university.