Tennessee State Announces Agriculture Full Scholarship Program, and You Won't Believe SCSU's Presidential Contraction Extension Announcement

Tennessee State Offers Full Rides to Agriculture Students

High school and community college graduates pursuing careers in agriculture may have a chance to attend college for free at Tennessee State University this fall, thanks to a new scholarship program announced by the institution today.

The TSU College of Agriculture will offer more than $752,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Scholarship Program, appropriated in part by the 2018 federal Farm Bill.

“Many students and their families have incurred additional expenses because of COVID-19, and this funding will allow us to retain and bring academically talented students to the university to be a part of our outstanding agriculture programs,” says Tennessee State President Glenda Glover. 

“We are thankful to Congress for providing funding to TSU, and particularly Congressman David Scott, the 1890 scholarship bill sponsor; the Tennessee Congressional Delegation, and Agricultural Secretary Perdue for making this happen.” 

Officials say the funding will help to support full annual scholarships for 20 incoming first-year students and community college graduates over the next four years.

South Carolina State is Less Than Enthusiastic About James Clark’s Contract Extension

Trustees at South Carolina State University announced a two-year extension for president James Clark last night, citing his work in balancing the institution’s budget, increasing enrollment, and leading the university out of negative accreditation sanctions.

But the board’s statement of support for Clark appears to be slightly below what you would expect in language awarding a longer contract to its campus leader.

“This Board of Trustees, the university’s governing body, empowered by the general assembly of this state, is tasked with hiring, evaluating and terminating a president, acting in the best interest of the institution. The board makes its decision about leadership based on guidance provided by the State Fiscal Accountability Authority, which sets criteria by which the performance of an agency head in higher education in this state should be evaluated,” Jenkins said.

“Over the course of Clark’s tenure as president, this board has employed these metrics to assess performance and continuous improvement. As a result of this process, the board of trustees of South Carolina State University has voted to extend President Clark’s contract through June 2022 with an option to extend for two additional years based on his performance,” Jenkins continued. “We would like to thank President Clark for his service thus far, and we, the members of this board, look forward to working with him to lead this great institution forward to an even higher level of excellence.”

The release also includes details that are commonly not found in an announcement that a school will retain its president. Noting that it took four hours to make the decision, revealing the number of ‘yes,’ and ‘no’ votes and abstentions, and making sure to let the public know that the board chairperson read from a prepared statement?

Everything about the announcement suggests that the board was forced by the state to keep a president that it doesn’t want. And there are a lot of reasons why they should not want to keep him. There’s nothing reticent about this announcement or the board’s intentions towards its president — but is anyone else listening to what they are barely trying to avoid saying?