Terra Strong, a Tennessee State University student who was controversially removed from her position, today posted on her personal blog about the details surrounding her ouster.
At first, upon meeting with the president and members of her cabinet, I was led to believe that I would have a chance to rectify the situation. The professor called me and said she was told to work with her to get the work in by weeks end. The professor also sent me an email message that same day indicating what I would need to complete to receive a grade. Yet later that day, I was called to the president’s office, where I was informed that the decision was made that the policy would stand. At that time, I was offered what was described to me and my mother as a “solution” to the situation: since I had enough credits to graduate, but not with my intended degree in Commercial Music Business with a minor in Business Administration, I could change my major to Interdisciplinary Studies, take my diploma, and leave “with my head held high.” Naturally, I was offended by this “solution.” I felt like the administration was trying to find a way for me to leave TSU quietly, regardless of what my academic goals and career aspirations are.
All of this happened AFTER the university administration requested that I sing at the Spring graduation, and listed me in the program as Terra Strong, Miss Tennessee State University, 2012-2013. All of this happened AFTER the university directed me to enter the Ebony Magazine HBCU Campus Queens online competition, arranging for professionals to prepare photos and a video for the contest. All of this happened AFTER the university arranged for me to interview with Channel 5 to encourage viewers to visit the Ebony website.
Tennessee State University has not issued a formal statement on Strong’s removal. The information from Strong comes one day after the university’s centennial celebration.