Governor Bill Lee Chooses New TSU Board Members After Approval from The House. Here Are the Appointees


CybersecdnIn response to recent legislative maneuvers impacting the governance of Tennessee State University (TSU), Governor Bill Lee took decisive action by signing into law significant changes to the university’s board structure. The swift enactment of this legislation followed the unexpected passage of a bill by House Republicans, which effectively dissolved the existing TSU board, overturning prior agreements to retain certain members.

The legislative process leading to this transformation began with House Republicans diverging from earlier commitments made during committee discussions. Despite initial agreements to preserve at least three incumbent members of the TSU board, House leadership opted to align with the Senate’s proposal to reset the entire board. This decision was reportedly prompted by a breakdown in negotiations with the existing board, leading to a shift in legislative strategy.

Tennessee lawmakers divided in the progress of the state

Governor Lee, exercising his authority, appointed a new board consisting of highly qualified individuals, many of whom are alumni of TSU. The composition of the newly appointed board reflects a diverse range of professional expertise, including banking, higher education administration, consulting, municipal leadership, legal counsel, and corporate governance. These appointees bring a wealth of experience and perspectives to their roles, positioning them to contribute meaningfully to TSU’s governance and strategic direction.

Notable among the appointees are Trevia Chatman, President of Bank of America Memphis; Jeffery Norfleet, Provost and Vice President for Administration at Shorter College; Marquita Qualls, Founder and Principal of Entropia Consulting; and Terica Smith, Deputy Mayor and Director of Human Resources at Madison County.

Additionally, Charles Traughber, General Counsel at Bridgestone Americas; Dwayne Tucker, CEO of LEAD Public Schools; Kevin Williams, President and CEO of GAA Manufacturing; and Dakasha Winton, Senior Vice President and Chief Government Relations Officer at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, round out the newly constituted board.

Governor Bill Lee Chooses New Tsu Board Members After Approval from The House. Here Are the Appointees

While Governor Lee expressed optimism about the future collaboration between the new board, TSU administrators, and students to advance the university’s mission, the decision faced criticism from various quarters.

TSU leaders and students voiced concerns about the potential disruption caused by the sudden overhaul of the board, particularly amidst ongoing efforts to select a new university president. Legislative Democrats advocated for a compromise to retain a portion of the incumbent board, emphasizing the importance of continuity and institutional knowledge.

In response to the legislative actions, TSU issued a statement expressing disappointment and highlighting the university’s longstanding challenges with underfunding. Despite the setback, TSU reaffirmed its commitment to working with state authorities to address funding disparities and ensure continued progress in enrollment, research, and academic excellence.

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With the appointment of the new board, Tennessee State University enters a new chapter in its history, navigating the complexities of governance and striving to uphold its legacy of academic excellence and student success. The composition of the newly appointed board underscores the critical role of effective governance in supporting the university’s mission and fostering its continued growth and impact on the community.

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