State lawmakers address TSU housing issues

Lawmakers look into housing and management issues within TSU, WSMV's Danielle Jackson reports.
Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 10:27 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2022 at 8:49 AM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - State lawmakers are trying to figure out issues within Tennessee State University when it comes to housing and operations management.

Lawmakers had Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury looked into the issues and financial practices of the university.

This school year, the university had housing issues and had to place several hundred students into hotels throughout Nashville.

The committee spent Tuesday afternoon showcasing their review after conducting an audit.

“We do know that enrollment is up at TSU. And that is absolutely great news but is it success?” said Jason E. Mumpower, Comptroller of the Treasury.

During the presentation the comptroller’s office revealed three key audit findings of lingering issues within the university which include five to seven years of bank statement efforts and inconsistencies.

Leaving tons of questions.

“What is TSU’s long-term housing plan for 2024 and beyond? Does TSU have adequate funding to support these short-term and long-term housing plans?” asked a comptroller staff member during the hearing.

In addition to a myriad of questions, the Comptroller’s Office mentioned the number of complaints they received from 30 TSU students who had issues with the lack of housing and communication from the university.

Some students also reported not receiving scholarships they say they were promised.

The university said only 25 students weren’t awarded scholarships due to incomplete forms or the students failing to communicate back with them.

Lack of sufficient housing forced several hundred students into hotels throughout Nashville this school year.

TSU’s President Dr. Glenda Glover said hundreds of students have been housed in five hotels during the fall 2022 semester to address the lack of housing on campus.

“Someone asked not sure if there was any money missing was there any mismanagement, and he said no we did an extensive audit. It’s a reconciled item and that’s what he was questioning about a reconciled item,” said Glover, after the committee hearing.

Dr. Glover acknowledged the housing issues and apologized to students and parents but stressed to lawmakers how housing is never guaranteed and many of the returning students were in need of on-campus housing because they couldn’t afford the high cost of living in Nashville.

This year the university experienced a record enrollment, of more than 3-thousand first-year students, the school crediting the “HBCU Renaissance” where more black students are choosing to attend HBCUs than traditional colleges and universities.

“We are forming an office of customer relations. We are going to hire a whole department that’s going to work directly with customer relations and assist students with where they need to be assisted,” said Glover.

Doctor Glover also shared with committee members the difference between student enrollment and the number of students who apply for housing.

She said there are two different applications and TSU does not always guarantee housing, but students can still be enrolled in the university.

The school’s president and staff also told committee members they are working to improve their communications among students and parents. They are also planning to add more personnel to address to bridge the gap of customer relations issues.

Now as for the next steps, the senate committee expects the university to give them more information regarding their short- and long-term plan for housing next year.