Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
April 27, 2007
Contact: Jeremy Warren, (512) 463-0113

Ellis, West, Coleman file TSU reorganization bill

SB 2039 & HB 4130 would strengthen Texas Southern University

AUSTIN -- Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) and Senator Royce West (D-Dallas) filed SB 2039 and Representative Garnet Coleman filed HB 4130, legislation to allow the Governor to abolish the governing board of a university after a finding of a financial or administrative exigency by the legislative audit committee.

Senator Ellis, Senator West and Representative Coleman issued the following joint-statement:

"This piece of legislation is important because it will ensure that Texas Southern University maintains its independence and vitality. We are confident that this bill will move TSU forward in becoming an important part of Texas' higher education system. We have been working closely with the Governor, Lt. Governor, the Legislative Black Caucus and others in crafting legislation that will solve some of the problems that have occurred at TSU.

"We all agree our first priority is to protect the students' degrees and the degrees of all those students to come. We have worked closely with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to ensure that the bill does not put TSU's accreditation status at risk."

The legislation would allow for the reconstitution of the governing board with a new 5-member board which will be authorized to appoint an interim president or chancellor to serve during the duration of the reconstituted board. The interim board will be authorized to develop a financial oversight and accountability plan and consult with accreditation agencies to make sure that the university maintains accreditation. In addition, the legislation would require the interim governing board to report to the Governor, legislative audit committee and a legislative oversight committee on the progress of the administration improvement plan.

The following are members of the Legislative Black Caucus: