TSU professor arrested for 'disorderly conduct' during faculty meeting

Monday, August 20, 2012 at 7:04pm

A faculty member critical of the Tennessee State University administration was arrested Monday morning after allegedly becoming unruly during a Faculty Senate meeting.

Associate English professor Jane Davis, chair of the Faculty Senate, was charged with disorderly conduct after interrupting the meeting, according to a TSU spokesman.

Davis accused the school of wrongly changing students’ grades earlier in the summer. The accusations resulted in a state Senate hearing, which has yet to issue a report. An internal audit stated the grade changes were correcting a previous mistake.

As a result of the Senate hearing, TSU sent out a survey last week asking faculty members if they wanted to retain Davis as the Faculty Senate chair, among other questions.

Interim TSU President Portia Shields called a meeting Monday morning to discuss the results of the survey.

“At the beginning of the meeting, Dr. Shields attempted to discuss the results of the survey at which time Dr. Davis became extremely disruptive and would not allow the meeting to continue in an orderly manner,” said Rick Delahaya, TSU director of media relations.

After Shields unsuccessfully attempted to regain control of the meeting, TSU campus police were called. Davis refused to leave the meeting and was escorted to the campus police department where she was charged with disorderly conduct, a class B misdemeanor.

Following her arrest, the Faculty Senate discussed results of the faculty survey and voted 21-3 to remove Davis from her position as Faculty Senate chair, Delahaya said. The survey found that 69 percent of faculty members supported the decision to remove Davis.

The City Paper unsuccessfully attempted to contact Davis. A court date for her has yet to be set.

In an email posted on her website last week, Davis accused Shields of retaliating against her by attempting to persuade employees to oust her.

"Pres. Shields and Provost (Millicent) Lownes-Jackson turned the faculty and staff assembly into something akin to a Communist showtrial and a call for a lynching," Davis wrote.