NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is doing its part to get people registered to vote during National Voter Registration Month. The university, along with Tennessee’s eight other Division I Public Universities, is working with the Secretary of State’s office to hold a voter registration drive during the tailgate before a home football game at each school.
TSU is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 18, when the Tigers take on Kentucky State.
“Like most Tennesseans, we love college football and the excitement of game day,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett, who participated in a student-led voter education and registration rally at TSU last September.
“These Voter Registration Tailgates are the perfect opportunity for us to show students and fans how easy it is to register to vote in Tennessee so that they can get in the game and make their voice heard on Election Day.”
The Voter Registration Tailgates kicked off on Sept. 11 at Tennessee Tech University, East Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee at Martin.
Voter Registration Tailgates will continue at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and TSU on Sept. 18; the University of Memphis on Saturday, Sept. 25; and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Middle Tennessee State University and Austin Peay State University on Saturday, Oct. 2.
At each tailgate, students and football fans will be guided through the registration process in minutes using the Secretary of State’s fast, easy and secure online voter registration system, GoVoteTN.gov. They will also be able to get their questions about Tennessee’s easy voting process answered by local election officials.
The Secretary of State’s office is working with students, university leadership and staff, athletic departments, student government associations, campus civic engagement organizations and local county election commissions to host the Voter Registration Tailgates.
The Voter Registration Tailgates are part of the Secretary of State’s ongoing efforts to help all eligible Tennesseans register to vote and are one of the many initiatives the office is carrying out in celebration of National Voter Registration Month.
For more information about registering to vote in Tennessee, go to GoVoteTN.gov or call the Division of Elections toll-free at 1-877-850-4959.
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 eight 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, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett recently spoke to Tennessee State University students about the importance of voting and how to make sure their ballots are counted in one of the most anticipated presidential elections in decades.
Hargett, along with AJ Starling, of the Davidson County Election Commission, participated in a student-led voter education and registration rally on Sept. 18. The presidential election is Nov. 3.
“(The) Election is just 46 days away from Today,” Hargett reminded the group of students gathered at Hale Stadium.
“I am really excited that members of the TSU Student Government Association are trying to rally their fellow students to get them engaged in the process by making sure they register to vote,” said Hargett, whose office is responsible for conducting and certifying election results. “We want people to be active participants in the formation of their government, because I don’t care what you look like, where you come from or who your mom and daddy are, we are all better off when we engage as citizens in this process.”
Dominique Davis, president of the SGA, welcomed Secretary Hargett and commissioner Starling, and urged her fellow students to heed the admonitions of the officials to exercise their rights as citizens.
“I hope you all are listening and sharing this impactful information with the students here at TSU,” Davis said. “Like the secretary said, it is one thing to register but another thing to go and exercise your right to vote. Let’s be sure that we are being the change that we want to see in our country because this election is so vital for our generation.”
In addition to the SGA, other organizations like GOVT, or Getting out the Vote, the Men’s Initiative, and Power to the Polls – a national HBCU initiative, helped to organize the daylong campaign.
Organizers said more than 200 students registered to vote for the first time at the rally. Among them were Khai Cole and Jananitabeal Oates, two freshmen.
“It feels really good (to register) because I feel like I can really make a change and a difference in the world,” said Cole, an arts and graphic design major from Memphis, Tennessee. “It feels good to see fellow students doing this because they understand us.”
Oates, an animal science major from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, agreed.
“It feels empowering to register to vote. It makes you feel included in the process and in the family at TSU,” she said.
Starling, a longtime community and political activist, encouraged the students to “act fast and vote in large numbers.”
“I want to see you all vote 2,000 per day,” Starling said. “We are anticipating that this presidential election will have the largest voter turnout in the history of our state. So, if you are voting absentee or mail-in ballot, act real soon.”
Before the rally, officials said TSU President Glenda Glover urged administrators, faculty and staff to ensure that students are actively engaged in the process.
“Dr. Glover challenged us to make sure that our students were aware and participating in this year’s elections,” said Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students. “As such, Student Affairs launched the Power to the Poll initiative in collaboration with other HBCUs to motivate our students and our campus community to take advantage of the opportunity to have a say in this year’s elections.”
Nationally, voting hurdles like proof of residence, absentee ballot use, or voter identification often keep college students away from the ballot box. But the students said Friday’s event was aimed to prevent that. They custom designed and displayed stickers and signs that read, “I registered to vote today,” “Steps to requesting a ballot,” “Completing your ballot,” “Deadline for requesting and mailing in your ballot,” and “mailing in your ballot.”
“Many of our students here at TSU are not from Tennessee, and a large portion of our campus will be voting absentee or mail-in ballot,” said Tiara Thomas, student trustee on the TSU Board of Trustee, and brainchild of GOVT, who has also been working with the Power to the Polls initiative.
“We want to make sure that a lot of our first-time voters and those who are voting absentee for the first time know exactly how to navigate that process,” Thomas said. “I am really excited that they are very receptive to our efforts.”
Dr. Andre Bean, director of the Men’s Initiative and coordinator of Power to the Polls, said he was excited about the turnout, as well as the students’ enthusiasm about the campaign and their “understanding of the process to be counted.”
“So, what we want to do is make sure our students are registered to vote, they know what their registration status is, and that they are more educated about the opportunity to vote absentee and mail-in ballot,” Bean said.
A few more rallies are planned up to Election Day.
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.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s effort to archive the work of renowned lawyer and civil rights icon, Avon N. Williams Jr., received direct support from the state today.
Accompanied by his staff, Tennessee’s Secretary of State Tre Hargett, stopped by the Brown-Daniel Library on the TSU main campus and presented what he called “seed money” for the preservation effort.
The money, a $2,500 check, was presented to Dr. Murle E. Kenerson, associate professor and interim dean of Libraries and Media Centers, during a ceremony in the Special Collections section. Associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs, Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young; and Dr. Alisa Mosley, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, were present for the presentation.
“What we are doing today recognizes what Sen. Avon Williams meant to this state and Tennessee State University,” said Hargett. “We want to preserve his work for not only students but people from all over who can read about his work and contribution to our nation and this world.”
Kenerson thanked the Secretary of State for the check, calling it a big help in “our effort” to identifying funding sources to carry out the work involved.
“We particularly appreciate you taking time off your busy schedule to honor us with not only this money but your presence,” Kenerson said.
He disclosed that the library was in possession of more than 500 linear feet of the late civil rights leader’s papers and collections.
“This library is archiving his papers to make sure his work remains in living form for not only our students but for generations to come,” he added.
Known for his role in the nonviolent movement, fighting against discrimination in the military, in public housing, and for school desegregation, Williams has a special tie to TSU. He represented the plaintiffs in the Grier v. Blanton case, which resulted in the merger of historically black TSU with the University of Tennessee in Nashville.
The downtown TSU campus bears his name as a mark of respect and appreciation.
In a long vocational trajectory spanning several decades, the late Tennessee state senator built up a resume that included a foreign diploma, banker, writer, and chief legal officer of the U.S. Army, a presidential appointment with oversight responsibility of all legal policy and direction of nearly 2,400 military and civilian lawyers.
Dr. Kenerson disclosed that in addition to the state funding delivered by the Secretary of State, which was the result of a grant application, the library was waiting for the outcome of another grant application to the Council on Library Information Resources.
“We have received notice that our application for $250,000 has moved up to the final stage for review,” he added.
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.