Tennessee State University and the Tennessee Board of Regents met today with the Senate Higher Education Subcommittee in a public hearing to address allegations of wrongful and inappropriate grade changes by University administrators.

During the two-hour hearing called by Subcommittee Chairman Senator Jim Summerville (R-Dickson), TSU academic and administrative officials, internal audit staff, and TBR officials provided testimony after local and national media publicized one TSU faculty member’s allegations of grade changes by University administrators without faculty consent. Dr. Jane Davis, an English professor at the University who made the allegations, was also present at the hearing.

“Tennessee State University has welcomed today’s opportunity to set the record straight both factually and clearly, and to address the unfounded and inappropriate allegations raised by a faculty member about how grades were assigned to students,” said Dr. Portia Shields, TSU President.  “We applaud Senator Summerville and members of the subcommittee for their willingness to listen to the facts as presented by the University’s administration, the Tennessee Board of Regents and representatives of Tennessee State University.

“It was made clear today from testimony during the hearing and through the internal audit report that there was no indication that University administrators ordered, coerced or directly changed the grades of students, but that faculty simply did what was right for the students involved. It is a shame, however, that so much energy has been spent addressing these unsupported allegations; energy that could have been better spent on students as we prepare for the beginning of a new academic year.”

The allegations of inappropriate grade changing first surfaced on June 27, 2012 when Davis sent an e-mail to the Chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents, and copied to the Governor of the State of Tennessee, complaining that the Associate Vice Provost changed over 100 grades of “Incompletes” to a “C” in two pilot math classes. The classes, Math 1110 and 1013, were part of a pilot program instituted by the University due to the elimination of remedial courses at four-year institutions by the Tennessee Board of Regents. The University designed the courses allowing students who needed learning support in mathematics, along with more time or instruction, to receive it in a number of ways including a four-day weekly schedule instead of a regular three-day schedule, a variety of computer-assisted instructional supports, the videotaping of classes, and University tutoring. Read Full