Comptroller claims ‘TSU is not a well-run organization’ in housing report

A Tennessee Senate committee is now reviewing a report from the Tennessee Comptroller's Office reviewing housing problems and other issues at TSU.
Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 5:54 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A special Tennessee Senate committee investigating the housing crisis at Tennessee State University heard arguments on Thursday morning after a report recommended major changes to the school’s leadership.

The Comptroller Officer completed a four-month investigation into the housing shortage that has forced the school to lease hotels for more than 1,100 students this year. The report said TSU mismanaged scholarships by giving out more than $28 million to students and guaranteeing housing despite not having enough dorms for them to live in.

Comptroller’s Office blames management for TSU’s housing issues

“What I can tell you for certain is the issues and the problems at TSU will not be solved overnight,” Comptroller Jason Mumpower told the committee. “As you heard illustrated, the housing problem is going to continue to exist for quite some time. The state will be responsible to making sure the campus has adequate facilities.”

TSU leadership is pushing back against the report. President Glenda Glover said the increase in enrollment is part of a renaissance at historically black colleges and universities.

SPECIAL REPORT: Click to read Comptroller’s report on Tennessee State University

Applications were up 130% this year, Glover said, leading to a shortage of beds. But the comptroller’s report concluded school leadership should’ve prepared by not accepting more students than they can handle.

“Not one student who paid a room deposit was forced to return home,” Glover said. “We know that if a student returns home the literature shows that student is very likely not to return to college and they will probably not pursue higher education again. That is the population we serve at TSU.”

PDF: Read TSU’s response to the Comptroller’s Office’s report

TSU said it is reducing enrollment for next year to prevent another housing shortage while also building new dorms to replace hotel rooms that are currently being leased.

Glover said many of the recommendations included in the report the Senate committee is now considering are discriminatory as they would treat TSU like a community college.