Category Archives: Uncategorized

TSU political analysts discuss impact of presidential election on US Democracy, with record voter turnout and global attention

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University political analysts say it is too early to determine the impact of the recent presidential election on the nation’s Democracy. But they say the record turnout of voters indicates that many Americans believe their “voices matter.”  

President Trump’s allegations of voter fraud and his unwillingness to concede to President-elect Joe Biden has raised questions about whether his actions have eroded trust in the U.S. Democracy. There’s also concern countries watching what’s happening in the United States may start to question the concept of a democratic government.

Dr. Brian Russell

Political scientists say Trump’s unwillingness to concede, and his claims of voter fraud, are the beginnings of democratic erosion, where a system of government remains a democracy, but the norms and values that make democracy work start to be called into question. 

“His supporters have been primed this whole election season that if the election doesn’t turn out with Trump winning, then there’s been something nefarious going on,” says TSU political science professor Brian Russell, who is highly sought after because of his expertise on the Constitution and political issues.   

The latest voting figures show Biden with 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232. Biden defeated him by more than six million votes in an election that had more than 150 million people vote, the most in U.S. history.

On Monday, the administrator of the General Services Administration formally designated Biden the winner of the presidential election, providing federal funds and resources to begin a transition and authorizing his advisers to begin coordinating with Trump administration officials. However, Trump still has not conceded.

“When he is questioning the process and implying that there’s been cheating going on all along, that starts to undermine our institutions. How deep does that go? I don’t know yet.”

However, Russell says one undeniable fact is the tens of millions of people that turned out to vote, which he says “is something positive” because it shows a lot of people still have faith in democracy.

Granted, he acknowledges the turnout was spurred by issues like the handling of the coronavirus pandemic, racial injustice and the economy, but they came out nonetheless. 

Dr. Learotha Williams

“That says something about our system,” says Russell. “If we had this kind of crisis and people weren’t coming out to vote, that would be suggesting that they thought the system was ultimately corrupt and their voices didn’t matter.”

History professor and political analyst Learotha Williams says the high voter turnout in the 2020 presidential election also highlighted efforts at the grassroots level to get people to vote, which he called inspiring. One person he noted was attorney Stacey Abrams, who is credited with boosting Democrats in Georgia and turning the state blue. 

Abrams, a former state lawmaker who has worked on issues related to voting rights for a decade, became a household name in 2018, when she narrowly lost her bid for governor in a contest marked by allegations of voter suppression affecting mostly black voters.

“That was a tough loss,” says Williams, an expert on voting rights, as well as African American and public history. “But it motivated her to keep going, to keep pushing, which speaks to her resiliency. She came back strong, and turned Georgia.” 

To learn more about History, Political Science, Geography and Africana Studies at TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/history/

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 39 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.

Bank of America contributes $1M in partnership with TSU to help students complete their degrees, find meaningful employment

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Bank of America is partnering with Tennessee State University and contributing $1 million, as part of an initiative to help students finish college and find employment in a competitive workforce.

TSU President Glenda Glover

The initiative is part of the bank’s recent $1 billion, four-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity, and its $25 million commitment to enhance up-skilling and reskilling for African Americans and Hispanic-Latino students.

Including TSU, the nationwide initiative includes partnerships with nearly two dozen community colleges that serve predominately Black/African American and Hispanic-Latino students, public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and public Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs).

“Tennessee State University is excited to be partnering with Bank of America, and for the $1 million contribution to help our students complete their degrees and secure meaningful employment opportunities in a global workforce, specifically here in Nashville, a city that has become a global leader in the healthcare, technology entertainment and hospitality industries,” says TSU President Glenda Glover. “At TSU, we strive for excellence, and this initiative will allow us to instill that mindset in students for generations to come, as we continue their professional development to be future leaders.”

“We know the best way to empower students is through education,” says Tyson Moore, Bank of America Nashville Market President. “We are excited about this partnership with TSU to equip all students, and particularly students of color, with the skills they need to get great jobs.”

Junior Tiara Thomas

Nashville Mayor John Cooper says initiatives like this will only make the city better.

“TSU is a key partner in helping us develop the type of high-tech workforce that our economy demands, so I’m grateful for opportunities like these to invest in our students’ success,” says Cooper.  

Senior Jacob Bobinger, an agricultural sciences major from Kingston Springs, Tennessee, says the initiative will definitely benefit his peers.

“Increased funding will allow for more scholarship opportunities, which will make the most direct and meaningful impact to students who are financially struggling to finish their degree,” says Bobinger. “I’m thrilled TSU will continue to offer better and better opportunities to students because of the amazing partnership with Bank of America.”

Junior Tiara Thomas, who is the student representative on TSU’s Board of Trustees, says the attention given to the University by companies like Bank of America is refreshing.

“I am very appreciative of Bank of America for investing in Tennessee State University students,” says Thomas, of Olive Branch, Mississippi. “It is great to see companies began to build relationships with HBCU’s to ensure a brighter future after graduation.”

Freshman Elise Russ of Nashville agrees.

Malik City

“As the Bank of America slogan states, ‘Life’s better when we’re connected,’” says Russ, a civil engineering major.  “I am excited to see the changes ahead with this new program, as it will help students learn how to navigate through challenges, improve communication, and be prepared for life upon the completion of college.” 

Recent TSU graduate Malik City knows firsthand what it is like to work for a top-tier company. The Nashville native and computer science major was hired by Bank of America as a software engineer and will earn $94,000 his first year, including a $10,000 signing bonus. City credits programs, like the Career Development Center at TSU, with getting him ready for the workforce.

“I feel very fortunate and very thankful to TSU for the preparation I received, which made all of this possible,” he said.  

Antoinette Duke, associate director of TSU’s Career Development Center, says she’s looking forward to working with Bank of America.

“This partnership and job initiative with Bank of America allows us to continue in our pursuit of providing the highest level of support to students entering the work force following graduation,” says Duke. “We are preparing them for the next step; we are preparing them for their careers.”

To learn more about the Career Development Center, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/careers/.

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 39 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, Meharry Medical College Announce New Partnership to Create Pipeline of African American Physicians, Dentists Through Accelerated Program

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University (TSU) and Meharry Medical College, two historically Black academic institutions in Nashville, today announced a new partnership focused on establishing a pipeline of African-American doctors and dentists who will provide essential care to underserved communities. The initiative is named after one of TSU’s most distinguished graduates, Dr. Levi Watkins Jr., an internationally renowned cardiac surgeon who holds an honorary degree from Meharry. 

TSU President Glenda Glover

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the need for greater commitment to eliminating health disparities among African American communities and to advance health equity among all underserved populations. The newly created Dr. Levi Watkins Jr. Institute/TSU/Meharry Accelerated Pathway Program seeks to address both of those issues.

The historic agreement will recruit, select and support the medical education of a cadre of African American students who are interested in becoming physicians or dentists. The overriding goal is to increase the number of African American trained health care providers who will stay and work in minority communities that have the greatest burden of health care needs.

“African Americans continue to be underrepresented in medical schools,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “This partnership will help level the playing field, and give them better opportunities that they so deserve. We look forward to working with Meharry Medical College to produce African American physicians, and dentists, who will serve the communities that need them most. Even more, we’re so proud to have the initiative named after the esteemed Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr., one of our own. He was a game changer, and so is this partnership.”

Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, President and CEO at Meharry Medical College, said the announcement is “significant for many reasons.” 

“We remain committed to training more Black doctors who will go on to serve in minority communities, and this partnership will provide more opportunities for Black students,” said Dr. Hildreth. “I am especially delighted about this partnership, as Dr. Watkins was a key mentor throughout my medical training and blazed the trail for me and countless other minority students who had been told there wasn’t a place for us within the medical community. I hope this new program will honor Dr. Watkins’ memory by continuing to prepare the way for minority students interested in medicine.”   

The accelerated program seeks to reduce the amount of time it takes students to enter medical school. The traditional four-year Bachelor of Science degree will become a three-year program—students will spend three years pre-med at TSU before going on to study medicine or dentistry at Meharry. The result is total completion in seven years, instead of the customary eight years. 

Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr.

Recent reports from the Association of American Medical Colleges show the growth of Black or African-American medical school applicants, matriculants and graduates lagged behind other groups, despite increasing efforts by colleges and institutions to create a diverse physician workforce. The proportion of Black medical students who identified as African American or Black grew from 5.6 percent in 1980 to 7.7 percent in 2016. That’s a substantial increase, but still short of the 13.2 percent in the general population.

The late Dr. Watkins is known worldwide for being the first surgeon to successfully implant an automatic heart defibrillator in a human patient at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

He was also a pioneer in civil rights at Johns Hopkins University. He fought to diversify the medical staff and student ranks at the hospital. His legacy of recruiting and mentoring minority students helped to change the landscape of the medical profession.

“In the nation and around the world, COVID-19 has revealed even more the need to eliminate health disparities among African Americans and to advance health equity,” said Barbara Murrell, the chair of the Institute. “TSU and Meharry are responding by providing an accelerated pathway to prepare African American physicians and dentists to serve underserved communities. It’s only fitting that the program is named for Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr., who was a pioneer in advocating for more African American physicians and health equity.”

Students participating in the pathways program will be those with the highest academic preparation and quality. Requirements for admission will be based on a 3.5 grade point average, a score of 1300 on the SAT (two components) or a 29 on the ACT. Mentoring, tutoring and coaching will be crosscutting elements of the program, as will be career and professional guidance for all students involved.

“This partnership between TSU and Meharry will definitely increase the number of African American physicians and dentists,” said Dr. Nolan McMurray, interim dean of TSU’s College of Life and Physical Sciences. “And it will address the health disparities affecting the African American community, not only locally, but globally.” 

The Dr. Levi Watkins Jr. Institute is projected to welcome the first cohorts in the fall of 2021-22.

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 39 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.

TSU to honor its veterans during virtual program, recognize United States Colored Troops

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University will honor its veterans with a special virtual program on Nov. 11, despite the pandemic.

The University’s annual Veterans Day program is usually an in-person tradition, but the coronavirus changed that this year, as it has all of TSU’s activities. However, organizers of the virtual program next Wednesday say they expect it to be as spirit-filled as it has in past years.

 The United States Colored Troops Memorial, Nashville National Cemetery

“Despite COVID, we are going to maintain those traditions that are important to our culture, our community, and our nation,” says Dr. Evelyn Nettles, associate vice president for Academic Affairs at TSU. “It is important for us to always remember those who served and protected our democracy.”

Lt. Col. Nick Callaway, commander of the University’s AFROTC Detachment 790, is this year’s keynote speaker.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to recognize the veterans who are currently or were previously employed at the university,” says Callaway. “I also applaud TSU for taking the opportunity to recognize the brave men of the United States Colored Troops. Their fight for freedom in our country’s darkest hour should not be forgotten.”

The United States Colored Troops were regiments of African American soldiers raised by the Union Army during the American Civil War.  These troops – who made up about 10 percent of the fighting force in the Union Army – included free African Americans from the North and South, and men who lived their lives as enslaved persons before the war began. By the war’s end, the USCT were a part of the 180,000 African Americans who fought for the Union Army during the Civil War.

“For them, the war was a struggle for liberty, one in which they forced the nation to redefine its notions of freedom and equality under the law,” says Dr. Learotha Williams, a veteran and TSU history professor.

The United States Colored Troops Memorial, located in the Nashville National Cemetery, recognizes the service of the 20,133 black men who voluntarily served in the Union Army in Tennessee during the American Civil War.

To access the program on Wednesday, Nov. 11, at 10:30 a.m. Central, visit https://zoom.us/j/96163866960?pwd=QkV0cXZGZzVOUkNReng5NHUyVksvUT09

Meeting ID: 961 6386 6960

Passcode: 812522

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 39 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.

TSU joins billion-dollar esports industry, new program prepares students for jobs as game creators, innovators

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is among a growing number of HBCUs that are getting into the billion-dollar industry of competitive video game playing, or esports. 

Dr. Robbie Melton works with students in a coding program provided through TSU’s SMART Global Technology Innovation Center. (TSU Media Relations)

Historically black colleges and universities say it’s not all about fun and games, and believe esports is a steppingstone to jobs and internships for students. TSU has launched esports classes, and joined esports organizations and leagues that will allow students to improve their gaming skills, as well as network with tech companies. A starting salary in esports management is around $67,000.

 Dr. Robbie Melton is TSU’s associate vice president of the SMART Global Technology Innovation Center and dean of Graduate and Professional Studies. She says “esports crosses every major academic area.” 

 “Problem solving, creativity, curiosity, coding, math. When you play esports, all of a sudden you are into what we call high level critical cognitive skills,” says Melton, who teaches an online course called, The Rise of esports and gamification in higher education. “You’ve got to think, you’ve got to anticipate, you’ve got to now pose strategies. That’s what we call the peak of education. That’s what we want all of our students to do in whatever they’re doing.”

Michael Davis Jr., and his wife, Keyosha, who is taking coding classes at TSU. (submitted photo)

 TSU is a charter member of the Black Collegiate Gaming Association. HBCUs in the association commit to making Black esports more than an extracurricular activity by offering academic esports classes.

 Melton says the curriculum at TSU focuses on how esports connect with traditional forms of education. She also hopes students will be motivated to consider the entrepreneurial side of esports, such as actually designing and creating games. 

 While many Black teens are gamers, this stat doesn’t seem to translate to those who hold jobs in the gaming industry. An estimated 83 percent of Black teens play video games, while 68 percent of video game creators are of European or Caucasian descent, according to data from the International Game Developers Association.

 Michael Davis, Jr., a high school teacher in Nashville, is taking the esports course at TSU. He says he’s been inspired to learn “to create the game,” and not just play it. He wants his students to do the same. 

Tiffany Obiogbolu. (submitted photo)

 “I tell them about TSU, and its esports program,” says Davis. “I tell them they should consider TSU for what it has to offer that the other schools here in town don’t have.” 

Collegiate StarLeague (CSL), with some 2,000 schools and 100,000 players, recently announced a partnership with the HBCU Esports Alliance (HEA) to start a 16-team HBCU esports league to begin competition in early 2021. TSU is with the HBCU eSports League, which is powered by Cxmmunity and Amazon’s Twitch.

 “That’s just phenomenal,” says Tiffany Obiogbolu, who is taking the TSU esports course. “Esports is a great bridge between various industries and where technology will continue to go. Being able to solve real world problems through a video game aspect, will provide a multitude of results.”

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 39 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.

TSU students, faculty present research at virtual Honors College TED Talk

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students and faculty from various disciplines presented research this week at a virtual TED Talk organized by the Honors College.

Dr. Coreen Jackson

The event on Tuesday was held via Zoom this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, there was still strong attendance from the campus community to hear topics that included cancer research, mental health, prison reform, the coronavirus pandemic, and the foreign market exchange. There were also two oratorical presentations.

“Although we greatly miss the in-person contact and collaboration, we appreciate the opportunity to still host this intellectual gathering and sharing of ideas,” said Dr. Coreen Jackson, interim dean of the Honors College. “People still get to witness how TSU is preparing students in science, technology, business, humanities, and the arts.”

Senior Anesha Walker of Nashville was one of the presenters. A biology major, her discussion was on the “Evaluation of Neutrophil Infiltration in Irradiated Tissues.” She enjoyed the opportunity to share her work.

Senior Anesha Walker

“The TED talk is a spotlight on TSU students that really highlights the achievements and hard work that is put in while trying to excel academically,” said Walker. “It is also a way for students to obtain new information and possibly gain an interest in a new subject.”

Russell Waters, who presented in a previous TED Talk at TSU, was a virtual attendant this year. The junior political science major said the presentations can also serve as a confidence booster for students.

“I used to be afraid of public speaking, but I’m not anymore,” said Waters, of Huntsville, Alabama. “The TED Talk experience boosted my self-esteem. Now I’m comfortable presenting. It’s really helped me in meetings.”

Dr. Frances Williams, associate vice president for Research and Sponsored Programs at TSU, reminded faculty and students of the resources available at the university to help them with their proposals and research.

Junior Russell Waters

“I would like to thank Dr. Jackson and the Honors College for facilitating the virtual honors TED Talk,” said Williams. “This is a wonderful event and is aligned with the university’s focus on faculty, staff and student scholarship, which is evidenced by TSU’s R2 Carnegie designation.”

To learn more about the Honors College, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/honors/

For more information about Research and Sponsored Programs, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/research/rsp.aspx

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 39 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.

TSU planning historic virtual Homecoming celebration amid pandemic

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University may not be having a traditional Homecoming this year because of the pandemic, but its Big Blue spirit will still shine through another way – virtually.

TSU’s world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands performs during halftime of the 2019 Homecoming game. (TSU Media Relations)

For 2020, TSU has planned several virtual events Oct. 23-25 under the theme, “Essentially TSU – We’re In This Together!”

“Every aspect of our lives has changed considerably since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic from earlier this year,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “TSU’s ongoing commitment in prioritizing the health and safety of the campus has led us to host an abbreviated schedule of events to celebrate and reflect.”

Here are some of the planned events:

Friday, Oct. 23

  • Tiger Statue Unveiling Ceremony at 10 a.m. CDT
  • Founders Day Program at 10:30 a.m.
  • In the spirit of tradition, a Virtual Pep Rally, “Big Blue Spirit Day”, at noon. Senior football players will be saluted, and there will be a special social-distance performance by TSU’s world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands.
  • First-ever virtually elected Royal Court for the Mister and Miss TSU Coronation at 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 24

  • Virtual scholarship gala titled, “An Evening of Jokes and Jazz!” Veteran comedian, Jonathan Slocumb, will host the event featuring TSU alumni trumpeter Melvin Miller and award-winning saxophonist Jazmin Ghent.
  • TSU will recognize some of its alumni who are essential, front line workers and first responders. There will be special acknowledgement of dedicated TSU employees, who keep the University safe and operating effectively during the pandemic

Sunday, Oct. 25

  • The virtual celebration will conclude with a Gospel Brunch at 1 p.m., hosted by TSU alum Dr. Bobby Jones, known in many circles as the Ambassador of Gospel Entertainment.
  • Noted alumni clergy, Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings and Rev. Dr. Tony Evans, will round out the program.

Tiara Thomas, student trustee on TSU’s Board of Trustees, said even though this year’s homecoming will not be traditional, she and her peers are still looking forward to the events.

“I believe all students and alumni alike can agree that our love for TSU is unconditional,” said the junior from Biloxi, Mississippi. “We will not allow COVID-19 to silence our celebration of our beloved TSU and all of its excellence. The Homecoming committee has worked hard to virtually capture the traditions of Homecoming Week.”

“We may not be celebrating in person, but we wanted to host some events to still keep our students and our alumni community engaged,” said Grant Winrow, 

Homecoming chairman and special assistant to President Glover.

Winrow said he hopes alumni and other supporters of the University who traditionally make the trip to Nashville will use those travel funds for a “scholarship of your choice” at TSU.

“Please give a portion of those monies that you would spend coming here to the TSU Foundation,” said Winrow, who offered a glimmer of hope for next year.

“I think that 2021 will be our year to come back stronger than ever before, in the Big Blue spirit of tradition,” he said.

For more information about the TSU Foundation, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/foundation/.

To see the Homecoming activities, visit https://www.youtube.com/user/TSUMedia.

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 39 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.

TSU Aristocrat of Bands committed to 100 percent voting, band director and members urge everyone to do the same

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands has a message for fellow HBCU bands and anyone else who will listen, vote! 

AOB band members (l to r) Don Jones, Tameria Cole and Kayla Jenkins.

Dr. Reginald McDonald recently hosted a workshop with fellow band member Tiara Thompson on absentee voting to educate the band on how to ensure their ballots are counted for the Nov. 3 presidential election, and to register those who weren’t. 

“We’re committed to getting 100 percent of our membership registered to vote,” said McDonald. “In 2020, you need to vote like your life depends on it.” 

Thomas, a junior Political Science major and serves as the student trustee on the University’s Board of Trustees, was the main organizer and presenter of the voting workshop. Prior to the band’s event, she facilitated “The TSU Tiger’s Guide to Absentee Voting Virtual Seminar,” which was hosted by TSU Football Coach Rod Reed for his players. Since the seminar, the entire football team, including players and coaches are now registered. 

“I was really inspired by the football team’s leadership in getting 100 percent of their players registered to vote,” said Thomas. “I didn’t want to stop with the football team. I wanted to hit the next biggest group on campus, which is the AOB. I just think that anytime you wear a Tennessee State uniform that you are automatically viewed as a leader. And I feel like right now it’s important for our Tennessee State University community student leaders to actively vote,” and encourage others to do the same. 

In 2018, only 34 percent of the campus actively voted, said Thomas, who has been a crusader on campus for voter education and registration.   

Tiara Thomas

“As trustee this year, my goal is to double that turnout, if not 100 percent,” said the Olive Branch, Mississippi, native.    

AOB drum major Julien Dooley said many students realize the importance of this year’s presidential election, in particular. 

“A lot of my friends are very knowledgeable of who they’re voting for, and the importance of it,” said Dooley, a senior from Atlanta. “The things we want to happen depend on who gets in office.” 

Visit this link (https://bit.ly/3nAkKP4) to hear a special message from Dr. McDonald and the AOB.   

For information on deadlines for early voting, mail-in voting, and absentee ballots, visit the website of the Secretary of State in your state.  

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 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.

TSU receives $6M federal grant to lead global research on beetle that attacks trees

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has received a $6 million federal grant to lead a nationwide team of researchers in the development of new tools to manage a woodboring beetle that attacks trees. The grant’s directors in TSU’s College of Agriculture say the research could have a global impact.

Dr. Karla Addesso

The funds were awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture and will focus on the flatheaded borer, or Flatheaded Borer Management in Specialty Crops.

“These borers cause serious damage to the nursery industry, and sometimes a single borer can kill or severely weaken a small tree,” says Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture. “Researchers will develop new tools for managing woodborers that attack trees in nursery, landscape, nut and fruit orchard systems. I am delighted and proud of our team that is leading this national effort.”

Dr. Jason Oliver

Karla Addesso, associate professor of entomology, is the project’s director. Entomology Professor Jason Oliver is co-director. Both are in the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at TSU’s Otis L. Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.   

Altogether, Drs. Addesso and Oliver will lead 24 researchers, including three more from TSU: Drs. Fulya Baysal-Gurel, Anthony Witcher and Prithviraj Lakkakula. The others are from the University of Tennessee, Rutgers University, North Carolina State University, Clemson University, University of Georgia, USDA-ARS-Byron, University of Florida, Texas A&M, University of California and Oregon State University.

Besides Tennessee, researchers say the flatheaded borer is becoming a problem in places like Florida, California, Oregon and Texas. And with the use of the grant, they’re hoping to confirm their pest status in other states, like North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama.

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture

“This beetle attacks trees everywhere,” says Addesso. “Current climate issues are causing them to be more problematic.”

Oliver says the flatheaded borer genus Chrysobothris also occurs on other continents in the world, “so project outcomes that improve management of Chrysobothis species in North America could have implications for management in other parts of the world.”

Researchers say some of their objectives with the four-year grant include: cost benefit assessments of flatheaded borer management strategies and risk analysis to guide producers in decision-making; identifying factors that make trees susceptible to attack; and evaluation of new insecticides that have recently entered the market to fight flatheaded borers.

TSU grad student Axel Gonzalez

“More environmentally friendly biological options like entomopathogenic nematodes have not been investigated at all with this borer group, and that is one aspect of this project,” says Oliver.

Additionally, researchers say the project will provide training to several graduate students, which will prepare them to either pursue further advanced degrees or to work in the field of entomology. The Entomological Society of America presently has about 5,000 members. 

One of those graduate students is Alex Gonzalez, who is currently pursuing a master’s at TSU in agricultural sciences, with a focus on entomology. However, the recent grant award has enticed him to pursue a Ph.D. and continue his studies in entomology, particularly on woodborers like the flathead.  

Flatheaded borer

“I can work long-term studying these insects,” says Gonzalez, who is originally from Honduras. “It’s an honor to have this research at TSU. We will have data that will be beneficial to the whole agricultural section.”

To learn more about TSU’s College of Agriculture, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/.

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 39 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.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg remembered as a ‘giant’ on the nation’s highest court

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg may have stood a little over five feet, but those remembering her say she was a giant on the nation’s highest court, and her influence will be felt for generations.

TSU President Glenda Glover

Tennessee State University joined the country in mourning her death.

“If ever there was a crusader for justice, she was that, and more,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “Early on in her legal profession, Justice Ginsburg helped to reshape history as a staunch advocate for equal protection and opportunity for women under the constitution. She consistently delivered votes on the most divisive social issues, including voting rights, health care, and affirmative action. And it is in that same spirit of perseverance, equality and justice, that we will continue her legacy.”

Dr. Samantha Morgan-Curtis, a Women’s Studies faculty member and dean of the College of Liberal Arts at TSU, said Ginsburg “achieved icon status usually reserved for film and music stars.”

Dr. Samantha Morgan-Curtis

“Besides Thurgood Marshall, I cannot think of another member of SCOTUS to be this recognizable as an individual,” said Morgan-Curtis. “At 5-foot-1, she towered over everyone else on the bench. She was a giant, in her own right.” 

Morgan-Curtis added that Ginsburg’s work with the American Civil Liberties Union, where she founded the Women’s Rights Project, pushed the protections of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment for both men and women, as well as minorities.

“The fact that states cannot set different drinking ages for men and women results from Ginsburg’s work as an attorney. The protection for men as care givers comes from her work.” 

Dr. Shameka Cathey

Morgan-Curtis said Ginsburg’s majority opinions also “pushed fair and equal protection under the law, and many argue that her dissent in the Ledbetter case was the blueprint for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.”

That legislation, which dealt with equal pay and amended part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was the first bill signed into law by former President Barack Obama in 2009.

Following Ginsburg’s passing, an effort is underway to replace her prior to the Nov. 3 presidential election. TSU Political Science Professor Shameka Cathey said the replacement of Ginsburg before the election “could put our country in limbo.”

“We would have a nation of people who are swinging to the left, with a Supreme Court on the right,” said Cathey, whose focus includes civil rights and African American politics. “The impact could lead to a Supreme Court turning back the clock on civil rights, voting rights, and many other vital rights central to the heart of our democracy.”

Junior Tiara Thomas

However, regardless of who replaces Ginsburg, TSU junior Tiara Thomas said her impact will not be diminished.

“Justice Ginsburg made a space for women in society, when there seemed to be none available,” said Thomas, a political science major from Olive Branch, Mississippi. “And this is what my peers and I can do to keep her legacy alive. We will continue to fight for safe spaces for ourselves, to advance and change the world.” 

To learn more about Women’s Studies at TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/cla/programs/womensstudies.aspx.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 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.