Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
March 9, 2005
Contact: Jeremy Warren, (512) 463-0113
Ben Hallmark, (512)463-0524

Coleman, Ellis File Legislation to Provide Vital Funding to Texas Southern University
- Bills would fund for a multipurpose university center, fine arts building and school of technology -

(Austin)//Representative Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) and Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) today filed legislation to provide vital funding for projects for Texas Southern University.

The legislation, HB 2291 and SB 1110, will authorize up to $109,560,000 in tuition revenue bonds to Texas Southern University to help finance campus improvements and acquire additional facilities. Tuition revenue bonds help Texas higher education institutions construct new buildings, renovate existing facilities, and improve campus infrastructure. If passed, HB 2291 and SB 1110 would fund a fine arts building, renovations of a building for the school technology, renovations for the Robert J. Terry Library and the development of a multi-purpose university center and other needed facility improvements at Texas Southern University.

"With our help, Texas Southern University can build the world-class facilities necessary to educate the next generation of African American leaders," said Coleman.

"A world-class university must have the resources to build and upgrade its facilities to attract high quality students," said Ellis. "This vitally important legislation will help Texas Southern University make much-needed improvements and expand the university's presence in Houston and across Texas."

In addition, Representative Coleman and Senator Ellis are fighting to restore funding cuts to Texas Southern University and Prairie View A&M. In 2001, Coleman and Ellis secured $50 million for TSU and PVAMU to ensure Texas keeps its U.S. Office of Civil Rights commitments and to make up for past discrimination in funding. Unfortunately, in 2003 the legislature broke its promise, reducing funding by 13 percent to $21 million per year. Coleman and Ellis are working to fund TSU and PVAMU at $25 million per biennium and to restore the 2003 cuts.

"Texas Southern University and Prairie View A&M are seminal institutions of learning for African Americans in Texas," said Coleman. "That these culturally and historically significant universities have been discriminated against in the past is bad enough. That some now want to deny these schools the funds they have been awarded in a federal civil rights settlement is reprehensible. I will do everything in my power to preserve and promote these important institutions of learning."

"The state of Texas made a promise to the court and to the people of Texas that it would make up for past discrimination," said Ellis. "Just two years later, the state broke its word. Representative Coleman and I are working to make sure that this matter is resolved and resolved quickly. This promissory note will not be returned for insufficient funds."