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General Assembly Vacates TSU Board of Trustees, Governor Makes Appointments

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has announced new appointees to the Tennessee State University (TSU) Board of Trustees after signing a bill from the General Assembly to reconstitute the body.

Lee said his “administration, in partnership with the General Assembly, is committed to ensuring students are being served.”

Gov. Bill LeeGov. Bill LeeOn March 28, the state House voted 66-25 to pass SB 1596, which called for TSU’s board of trustees to be vacated and reconstituted with 10 members. Of those members, nine must be voting members and one must be a nonvoting student representative. The bill requires that — of the nine voting members — at least six members must be state residents, eight must be governor appointees, and at least three members appointed by the governor must be alumni of the institution among other requirements.

Lawmakers and community leaders opposed to the measure said state leaders unfairly targeted TSU, the only publicly funded historically Black university in Tennessee.

Some state legislators noted TSU’s student housing shortages and financial struggles as reasons for vacating its board, the Associated Press reported. But others point to the institution’s underfunding at an estimated $2.1 billion over the last three decades as reasons for the university's struggles.

Lee’s board appointees include:

  • Trevia Chatman, president, Bank of America Memphis;
  • Jeffery Norfleet, provost and vice president for administration, Shorter College;
  • Marquita Qualls, founder and principal, Entropia Consulting;
  • Terica Smith, deputy mayor and director of human resources, Madison County;
  • Charles Traughber, general counsel, Division of Real Estate, Retail, and Financial Services at Bridgestone Americas;
  • Dwayne Tucker, CEO of LEAD Public Schools;
  • Kevin Williams, president and CEO of GAA Manufacturing; and
  • Dakasha Winton, senior vice president and Chief Government Relations Officer at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

“I’m pleased to appoint these highly qualified individuals who will work alongside administrators and students to further secure TSU’s place as a leading institution,” said Lee.

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