Tag Archives: HBCU

Tennessee State University to Screen National Documentary on African-Americans and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights

375652_537889596246236_36807159_nNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) –The New Black, a documentary, which tells the story of how the African-American community is grappling with the gay rights issue in light of the recent same-sex marriage movement and the fight over civil rights, will be screened at Tennessee State University on Thursday, Oct. 16.

In collaboration with the Gay Straight Alliance, a TSU student group, and the Nashville Black Pride, the University has planned a number of weeklong activities to coincide with the screening as part of TSU’s first celebration of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) History Month in October.

According to Tiffany Cox, the director of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, the screening and celebration are a result of TSU receiving part of a $4,000 grant from the Human Rights Campaign. TSU is one of four historically black colleges and universities that received the grant to use the award-winning documentary “as a tool to advance on-campus LGBT inclusion.”

“Because of our strong commitment to ensuring a campus climate of equality and inclusion, we saw the announcement requesting proposals for this grant and we applied for it,” said Cox “We were elated when we received notification in the summer that TSU had been selected.”

The New Black, directed by Yoruba Richen, explores how race, faith, justice and identity intersected in Maryland’s politically powerful African American community in 2012 as the state prepared to vote on marriage equality. It comes on the heels of recent reports showing that while many majority-white colleges and universities have embraced the call for LGBT inclusion, HBCUs have been notably slow to extend their historical mission of social justice to the success of their LGBT students.

rainbow fist-1“TSU is very pleased to screen this documentary, and to host discussions and activities that promote the equal treatment of all students on our campus,” Cox said, reminding the community about the University’s “strong policy” against harassment or discrimination of any kind.

Visibly pleased and upbeat that TSU is screening The New Black documentary and hosting programs to mark LGBT History Month is Iesha Milliner, president of TSU’s Gay Straight Alliance, who contributed in developing the proposal for the HRC grant.

“I am glad that for the first time TSU is showing such support for the Alliance in its 10 years on this campus,” said Milliner, a junior Art Education major from Nashville. “The campus screening of The New Black will bring the student body together and provide answers to many questions that are asked on a daily basis. My greatest hope is that this event will open the eyes of this community to the LGBTQ issues that exist on this campus.”

The New Black has screened in more than 85 cities around the country through ITVS’s Community Cinema public education and civic engagement initiative. The documentary has garnered numerous awards, including the Audience Award at Philadelphia QFest, AFI Docs and Frameline International LGBT Film Festival, where it also received an honorable mention as Outstanding Documentary Feature. At New York City’s Urbanworld Film Festival, it won the jury award for Best Documentary Feature.

Other HBCUs that received funding to screen the documentary are Alabama State University, Johnson C. Smith University and Spelman College.

The screening at TSU on October 16 is at 5:30 p.m., in the Floyd Payne Campus Center Forum. Other events marking LGBT History Month will begin October 13-17. They will include displays, nationally recognized motivational speakers, panel discussions, free HIV screenings and workshops. For registration and more information, go to: http://www.tnstate.edu/eeoaa/tsusafezone.aspx

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Presidents’ Panel: Historically Black Colleges and Universities Are Still Very Relevant

TSU Diversity and Inclusion Summit Brings Together Three HBCU Presidents

 

Dr. Kevin D. Rome, of Lincoln University, left; Dr. William B. Bynum, of Mississippi Valley State University; and Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover say non-minority institutions should take a lesson from HBCUs on how they are coping in the face of limited resources. The university presidents joined forces to discuss the question of relevancy of HBCUs and whether they can embrace the culture of diversity and continue to play a key role in the nation’s higher education landscape. (photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)
Dr. Kevin D. Rome, of Lincoln University, left; Dr. William B. Bynum, of Mississippi Valley State University; and Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover say non-minority institutions should take a lesson from HBCUs on how they are coping in the face of limited resources. The university presidents joined forces to discuss the question of relevancy of HBCUs and whether they can embrace the culture of diversity and continue to play a key role in the nation’s higher education landscape. (photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – In spite of fewer resources compared to the nation’s other majority institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities graduate impressive number of majors in education and in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Responding to critics who question the relevancy of HBCUs and whether they can embrace the culture of diversity they have demanded of others, a panel of HBCU presidents meeting at Tennessee State University Monday said HBCUs continue to play a key role in the nation’s higher education landscape and have become more diverse in student population, faculty and staff.

“Those raising questions about the relevancy of HBCUs have no case to back their claim,” said President Glenda Baskin Glover, of TSU, in an opening statement, adding that the question should be about how HBCUs have survived with limited resources and yet produce outstanding graduates.

“How can HBCU’s become a model for other institutions by operating with limited resources and yet we have survived with a high level of performance by putting out more than 5 percent of all graduates in the nation annually? That should be the question,” Dr. Glover asserted.

Attending a three-day “Diversity and Inclusion Summit on HBCU’s,” Dr. Glover, Dr. William B. Bynum, of Mississippi Valley State University; and Dr. Kevin D. Rome, of Lincoln University Missouri, answered questions about HBCU mission, good governance, customer service, and a culture of openness that embraces all without regard to race, sexual preference or heritage.

The summit brought together participants from institutions and organizations across the country including the Association of Public Land Grant Universities, Clark Atlanta University, Indiana University, Alcorn State University, Xavier University, Prairie  View A&M University, Alabama A&M University, Vanderbilt University, Fisk University, and Florida A&M University.

Dr. Ben Reese, longtime educator and president of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, served as moderator of the Presidents’ Panel, a key component of the summit organized by the TSU Office of Diversity and International Affairs.

On the issue of limited resources with high return, Bynum and Rome agreed with Glover that instead of questioning HBCU’s relevancy, critics should be asking how non-minority institutions could learn from HBCUs.

“Not only are our institutions diverse, HBCUs are relevant to those students who are there,” said Dr. Rome, at whose Lincoln University blacks are now in the minority at 40 percent, a shift seen in the last six years. “HBCUs give opportunities to those who would not have had those same opportunities at other institutions. Their graduates are making great difference as doctors, engineers and educators.”

“Are we still true to the HBCU mission,” Reese asked.

“We should be true to our mission, focus on what we are about, and continue to do what we do well,” said Dr. Bynum, warning that HBCUs should not try to take on the mantle of being everything to everyone. “This is not a one-size fits all business. Role models and mentorships are the backbone of what we are about.”

On the broader issues of diversity and inclusion, especially dealing with lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender, the presidents said their institutions have exercised complete openness on “individual” free expression, and have instituted policies that put no barriers to individual practices.

“It is an asset that we can do things that embrace everyone,” Dr. Rome said. “If we are in the business of teaching, then we must be ready to embrace and allow people to speak out and not be faced with questioning who they are.”

Presidents Bynum and Glover agreed that universities should be a place where people can be who they are.

Drawing from his background as a sociologist, Bynum said he was dismissive of the long-held belief by “religious conservatives” that being gay is a lifestyle choice.

“For those in the black community who say being gay is a choice, science has proven them wrong,” said the MVSU president. “And the comparison of gay rights to civil rights has great merit because it all comes down to a mater of individual right.”

Dr. Glover, the longtime educator and trained lawyer, sees the issue as a matter of constitutional right.

“I am a strong supporter of the Constitution that tells one to be what they want,” Dr. Glover said. “We can’t close the doors on some and say we are diverse. Allowing people to be what they are is what diversity is.”

Among other issues, the presidents said resources, especially funding, was one of the main problems facing HBCUs. For instance, in Tennessee, it is not how many students you recruit but how many you graduate that determine funding level, Dr. Glover told her colleagues.

“So why we try to go the traditional recruitment route, we have to recruit in a certain way to carry out the mandate of the state, and remember to recruit students who can help us get funding,” Glover said.

On the question of how HBCUs can be a model for other institutions, the TSU president repeated her assertion that non-minority institutions should learn how HBCUs have remained successful in the face of limited resources.

The summit, which started Sunday, ends Tuesday.

Break-out sessions discussed topics including “The New HBCU: Does Diversity and Inclusion Impact the Relevance of HBCUs?”; “Beyond the Choir: Developing a Culture of Inclusion and Excellence”; “Repositioning HBCUs for the Future”; “Student Leadership Apprentices: Whose Mentor are You”; “Renovating Academy: Challenges Associated with a Diverse  Faculty”; and “Exploring the Chemical  Dynamics of an HBCU to the Global marketplace: A Possible Plausible STEM Transition.”

At a reception Monday night for summit participants in the Holiday Inn Express Downtown Nashville, Dr. Dennis Rahiim, CEO of the Center for Black Student Achievement, wowed the gathering with words of inspiration.

He was followed by Freedom Rider and Civil Rights Activist Dr. Ernest “Rip” Patton, who spoke about his role in organizing the first lunch counter sit-ins in Nashville in the early 1960s.

Later, President Glover, along with summit Chair, Dr. Jewell Winn, presented awards and gifts to sponsors and supporters including AT&T, NADOHE, HCA, AGB, APLU and the Tennessee Board of Regents.

 

 

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.