Tag Archives: TSU Associate Vice President andChief of Staff Curtis Johnson

Tennessee State University Ranked Among the Safest College Campuses in America

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is among the safest college campuses in the nation, a new report shows. The National Council for Home Safety and Security, in its 2019 report of Safest Colleges in America, lists TSU in the Top 8 percent of colleges with the lowest crime rate.

TSU Crime Prevention Officer Aerin Washington says the Police Department’s Rape Aggressive Defense program aims to help individuals defend themselves in any given situation. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

 The report ranked TSU No. 46 of the 490 colleges rated, using law enforcement and FBI data on crime rate and police adequacy.

 “It is extremely important that our students, parents, along with university employees, know they are safe on our campus, and this latest ranking is evident of our commitment to the institution’s public safety,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “Campus safety is always a priority and this administration will continue to invest in proactive measures that we believe will also continue to yield even better numbers.” 

Over the past three years, TSU has committed millions to upgrading campus safety. This includes increase in police workforce, technology, physical enhancements and crime prevention programs. Officials say fencing of the campus is about 75 percent complete, the university has added checkpoints with “internal  and hard external security,” as well as access-controlled entrances in many of the buildings.

TSU students participating in the Collegiate Citizens Police Academy train with the Nashville Metro Police Department. The academy is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

According to Dr. Curtis Johnson, associate vice president and chief of staff, the enhancements are all part of President Glover’s focus and emphasis on campus safety.

“These are all things Dr. Glover values in terms of the safety of our students, faculty, staff and TSU constituents,” Johnson said. “You are now seeing the results of those investments. TSU is a safer campus by any standard.”

TSU Police Chief Greg Robinson, who recently received a prestigious international campus safety award, said the TSU high safety ranking is the result of being proactive and building strong relationships that allow individuals to come forward with information that is beneficial to crime prevention.

A staff member engages in a simulated attack with an aggressor during a RAD or Rape Aggressive Defense basic self-defense class in the TSU Police Department. (Submitted Photo)

 “We plan on doing different things with our shift supervisors and building liaison roles with each residence hall, as well as adding more educational classes on prevention with students and the community at large,” Robinson said. “We will continue to depend on the stewards of our community to help us keep up the positive momentum.”

 In Tennessee, TSU is also rated “extremely high” among schools that have students living on campus, Robinson said. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, comparing figures from 2017 to 2018, reports that across Tennessee overall, crime report is down 15 percent. Robbery offenses are down 50 percent. Sex offenses are down 17 percent. Rape offenses are down 10 percent.

 During that time, Robinson said, TSU saw major improvement.

 “We will enhance and expand our current efforts that will allow us to sustain and even surpass the decline,” said Robinson, who received the 2019 International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) Award for Administrative Excellence, during a June ceremony in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

“We have had record numbers in decline, and we want to keep this downward trend. We also want to keep the crime indicator numbers low but keep TSUPD visibility high so that our students, faculty, staff, and even our visitors know that we want to serve them in the greatest capacity.”

 In collaboration with campus police, TSU has also initiated a number of other programs in campus safety and crime prevention that have yielded measurable results. The university now has the only co-ed R.A.D., or Rape Aggressive Defense program. RAD, a self-defense program opened to students, faculty and staff, emphasizes awareness, prevention, risk reduction and avoidance. The 12-hour class is taught over the course of three days in four-hour sessions.

 “You can’t always depend on law enforcement to be the first line of defense when it comes to your personal safety,” said Aerin Washington, TSU’s crime prevention officer. “Having a program like this really empowers our community members, as well as our students, faculty and staff to take their personal safety in their own hands. We want to make sure they’re able to defend themselves in any given situation.”

 In 2016, TSU and the Nashville Metro Police Department formed what’s believed to be the nation’s first Collegiate Citizens Police Academy. Students in the five-week training program are exposed to various aspects of police work, including domestic violence investigation, and making split-second decisions.  

Graduates of the program make up what’s called Tiger Patrol and work in shifts to guide fellow students on campus, or alert the police if a situation warrants it. More than 50 students have participated in the program since its inception about three years ago.

“Tiger Patrol is a very innovative way of allowing students to take part in the safety of the campus,” said Frank Stevenson, associate vice president and dean of students, who is the brainchild of the Collegiate Citizens Police Academy. “Tiger Patrol has been a tremendous success. It allows peer-to-peer interaction, and allows us to hear students’ concerns, and provide information on things around campus that should be brought to the attention of the police department.”

According to Stevenson, many of the graduates of the Tiger Patrol and Citizens Police Academy program have gone on to professional careers in different forms of law enforcement.


For more information on the TSU Police Department or student programs go to http://www.tnstate.edu/police/

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Nashville Mayor Extols Verizon Innovative Learning Program with Middle School Students During Visit to Tennessee State University

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Thirteen-year-old Carlile Burgess wants to one day be a technician at Verizon, and he thinks a summer program at Tennessee State University has opened the door for him.

Nashville Mayor David Briley; and Thomas Francis, Verizon Innovative Learning program coordinator, right, observe students as they work on a program during class. (Photo BY Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“I love technology in general especially with Verizon because I like working with their equipment,” said the 8th grader from Nashville’s East Middle School. “I want to work with them; if they have a crash or something, I can fix it.”

Burgess has big dreams and he is not alone. On Tuesday, he and about 80 other students in grades 6-8 from the Nashville Metro Public Schools got a chance to show Nashville Mayor David Briley new technology they are learning on the TSU campus as part of the Verizon Innovative Learning Program.

The VIL, a partnership between TSU and Verizon, gives the students a firsthand experience in “the vital role technology plays in today’s world, empowering them to become creators and makers,” a Verizon release said.

Eighth-grader Carlile Burgess, middle, and fellow students work on a circuit board. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Mayor Briley’s visit allowed him to see students participating in hands-on coursework in virtual reality, augmented reality, 3-D printing, robotics and electronics. He said it was very encouraging to get the students interested early in technology.

“This is clearly a part of the economy that is growing and we need to make sure our young folks are ready to compete,” Briley said. “So, having a partnership between Tennessee State and Verizon and Metro Schools is a great thing to be doing this summer for these young men.”

Dr. Curtis Johnson, associate vice president and chief of staff, who welcomed the mayor on behalf of TSU President Glenda Glover, said the university was excited to be a part of the training program for the students, he described as future leaders who could one day become TSU Tigers.

About 80 middle school students are participating in the Verizon Innovative Learning program on the Tennessee State University campus during the summer. (Pohto by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“We are excited that the mayor can come out to see some of the many great things that are taking place here on our campus with youth from the community who are being developed for future leaders here at Tennessee State,” Johnson said.

Also, on hand to greet the mayor was Dulaney L. O’Roark III, from Verizon Government Affairs. He said Verizon is very proud to sponsor the program.

“It means a lot to bring these young men to really experience cutting-edge technology to be able to envision themselves on a college campus learning about virtual reality, computing and all of the newest innovations,” O’Roark said. “We are really honored that the mayor would come and be a part of the program and express to the young men how supportive he is of them being part of this learning experience.”

According to Verizon, the three-week program for minority male students is intended to prepare them for future tech careers through intensive coursework in design and product development while being mentored by relatable professional STEM role models. The program helps participants acquire technical and soft skills to reach a higher level of academic achievement.  After summer courses are completed,  students will make monthly visits to TSU for STEM education courses and individual mentoring with undergraduate and graduate students.

Thomas Francis, a STEM instructor, is a coordinator of the VIL program at TSU. He said the students are also developing friendships and learning to work together.

“The students are leaning with other students who are like-minded like them and that’s important in learning technology and in putting math and science together,” Thomas said.

For more information on Verizon Innovative Learning program, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/computer_science/documents/VerizonTSUCampFlyer.pdf

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University Hosts Unveiling of ‘Forever’ Postal Stamp Honoring Lena Horne

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University hosted the unveiling of the U.S. Postal Service’s “Forever Stamp” featuring legendary performer and civil rights activist Lena Horne on Friday in the Kean Hall welcome center.

The new stamp, which is the 41st in the Black Heritage series, is a colorized black-and-white photograph taken of Horne in the 1980’s by photographer Christian Steiner. The dress Horne wears in the photograph appears royal blue, a color she frequently wore. The background of the photograph includes a few clouds, reminiscent of her Stormy Weather album. Horne’s name appears at the bottom of the stamp, with the words “USA” and “Forever” appearing just above her name in the bottom right corner. The words “Black Heritage” appear at the top of the stamp.

Toni Franklin, the postmaster of Nashville, joined TSU Associate Vice President and Chief of Staff, Dr. Curtis Johnson, faculty, staff, students, postal officials and guests during the unveiling ceremony in Nashville in the Kean Hall foyer on the main campus. The stamp was dedicated by Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman during a January 30th ceremony at the Peter Norton Symphony Space in New York.

Franklin described Horne as “a woman who used her platform as an entertainer to become one of America’s most public advocates for civil rights and gender equality.”

“The Lena Horne Commemorative Stamp is being issued as a ‘Forever Stamp’,”  Franklin said.  “It goes without saying, Lena Horne will forever be in our hearts.”

Steven Lewis, Curator of the National Museum of African American

Steven Lewis, curator of the National Museum of African American Music, speaks before the unveiling. (Photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

Music slated to open in Nashville in 2019, served as the ceremony speaker. He provided a brief history of Horne’s contributions to the entertainment industry and African American History.

“Lena Horne lived a long life, and she had an amazingly varied body of work spanning activities of literally all forms of popular media including film, television, recordings, musical theatre, and night club appearances,” he said. “The constant throughout her career, however, was her commitment to activism on behalf of African Americans.”

Attendees participated in a brief reception following the event. The TSU Jazz Band provided entertainment, performing renditions of Horne’s classics, including her popular song, Stormy Weather.

Best known for her movie roles in “Cabin in the Sky” and “Stormy Weather,” Horne began her career as a dancer at Harlem’s famous Cotton Club. She endured decades of discrimination in her storied career, and eventually emerged as a civil rights activist performing at various rallies across the South, pressing for anti-lynching legislation with Eleanor Roosevelt, lending her support to the National Council for Negro Women and taking part in the March on Washington in 1963.

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.