Notes from TSUNAA Conference Call with President Glenda Glover

February 1, 2018


President Glover thanked the TSUNAA for the opportunity to come and speak to us about the recent events at TSU, most notably the Wilson Hall and the student purge.  Below are the notes that I captured.  The call was recorded, and the national recording secretary will be transcribing the call for the TSUNAA minutes.

She began by acknowledging the communication gaps and owned that the administration should have done a better job in keeping the TSU community informed of the problem, and the actions that were being taken to correct the issue in real time.

Wilson Hall
The main problem was the boiler system.  They were aware of the issue at the end of the Fall 2017 semester and aimed to have it fixed before students returned.  Because Wilson is an older dorm, the boiler had to be custom built.  When it arrived, it did not pass specifications, which caused further delay.  In addition, the control panel had to be replaced.  Wilson Hall residence were only without water during the times that it had to be shut off to install the new system.  The hot water system is now fixed, and all floors have hot water.

Because of how the situation was being handled, students organized a protest.  President Glover was and is supportive of students protesting, as she was also involved in protests as a student.  The students presented a list of grievances, and the Administration has already addressed many of them. (Note: She did not share the list of grievances or how they were rectified.)

She also gave an update on various other maintenance work that was being done at Wilson.  The mold and moisture issue are also being addressed.

Post meeting note:  President Glover did not mention on this call, it was announced at the student forum on Tuesday 1/30 that all Wilson residents would receive a $150 declining balance and a $50 gift card.

Related Facility Updates

The Asst Vice President for Facilities was reassigned and is no longer over facilities. Each residence hall will now have a building manager.  Mr. Brackett (from Residence Life), has a background in housing and housing maintenance and will be conducting a full assessment of each dormitory. Wilson received new washers and dryers.

There is no dollar assessment on repairs for any of the residence halls and other facilities, but estimates about $70M for the campus.  Note:  $6.2M has been included in the Governor’s proposed budget for TSU next year.

Cross the Finish Line Fund and Student Purge

Almost 1500 students were at risk of not being able to enroll in classes for the Spring 2018 semester.  The University did not purge the students this week and is working out plans to allow students to set up payment plans to settle their balance.

The University reached out the TSUNAA chapters and individual alumni to raise funds to help keep as many students in school as possible.  The Foundation has reported that $30,000 was raised, and monies are still coming in.  Of that total, the TSUNAA contributed $15,000 and the Nashville Alumni Chapter contributed $10,000.  Other chapters also contributed.

President Glover shared financial aid facts to give a perspective on the challenges the students have with having enough funding for school.

Example: Out of state tuition is $14,000/year; The maximum Pell Grant per year for a student = $5,920. Students can get subsidized loan for up to $3500, and an unsubsidized loan up to  $2,000.  That gives a total aid package of $11,420/year.  Though the State of Tennessee allows a $200 outstanding balance on a students’ account and they can still register. TSU raised their cap to $1000 in an attempt to allow more students to stay in school.  Unfortunately, the number of students from the Fall 2017 semester with a balance greater than $1000 was significantly higher than was expected, which led to the emergency call for assistance.

President Glover is sympathetic to students coming to TSU to escape bad environments, but also recognizes that we must be more intentional about educating parents and students on what it costs to go to college.   University would like to partner with TSUNAA at conference to support workshop on this topic.

University Budget:
For those interested in seeing the TSU budget, it can be found here

Media & PR strategy:
Question was asked about the university’s PR strategy given the negative publicity this academic year.  She responded by saying that the Assistant Vice President of Public Relations Kelli Sharpe submits 3-4 positive stories per week.  Communications are distributed on various platforms and  via the electronic newsletter – TSU Select.  They are also trying to enhance their social media presence to meet students where they are.  Ms. Sharpe invites Alumni to share stories, and also continue to share these stories on social media.

UNCUT Facebook Group:
A question was asked about how a group like UNCUT could be used to enhance university and alumni relations.  President Glover simply responded “ no comment”.

Simultaneous Leadership at TSU and in AKA:
A question was posed about how her upcoming leadership role in AKA would affect her role as president of TSU.  She responded by sharing that her upcoming AKA role was not a paid position and that her priority is TSU.  AKA has a corporate office with a paid staff of 40 and an executive director.  She took exception to how some do not question when men have led universities and their fraternity yet challenge her ability to do so.   She understands that it is not devoid of duty but is one of two things that she does in her time—watch Judge Judy and serve in AKA.

Customer Service:
President Glover acknowledges that Customer Service is a problem and will be stepping up Customer Service training for all employees.  They are taking steps to identify individuals who are rude to students and parents and appropriate measures will be taken.

Risk Management Plan:
TSU does have a risk management plan, as required by the State of Tennessee.  We also now have an internal auditor who has been with the university for approximately six months.

TSU Day at the Capitol:
Alumni are invited to attend and support TSU at this year’s event which will be February 14, 2018 from 9am-1pm.

Mentoring Platform:
For alumni interested in mentoring opportunities, contact Mr. Charles Jennings in Career Services or Dean of Students.  Dean Stevenson shared that they are also seeking mentors for the FedEx Leadership TSU program.  Alumni can also contact Cassandra Griggs in Alumni Relations for mentoring opportunities.