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Tavis Smiley Stiffs T.S.U., Mouth Bigger Than Wallet

Tavis Smiley Stiffed T.S.U.

Tavis Smiley Stiffed T.S.U.

Famous broadcaster Tavis Smiley has stiffed Texas Southern University because Smiley has not fulfilled a $1 million donation he had committed to give the school, the Houston Chronicle reported Friday.

Texas Southern University had, in honor of the donation, dedicated and named the Tavis Smiley School of Communication, at the university, in his honor. Smiley promised in 2004 to donate $1 million and to raise another $1 million for TSU.

To date, he has donated $50,000 while raising an additional $250,000, which was donated  from three corporate donors.

Smiley had promised Friday, October 23rd, to live up to his original personal commitment of one million dollars, but the payment terms would be twice as long for him to complete, which was radically different from his original commitment.

Smiley agreed in 2004 to give TSU $200,000 a year for five years and to help raise another $1 million.

He said he stopped the payments out of concern about mismanagement under former University President Priscilla Slade, who, along with her colleague Quentin Wiggins were brought up on charges of misappropriation of university funds. Quentin Wiggins was convicted and sentenced to ten-years in prison.  Slade’s first trial resulted in a hung jury, and she faced retrial in 2008.

My inside sources at the campus report that Slade received a plea bargain that gives her 10 years in probation,and is bared from holding a similar position for the length of her probation.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed TSU on probation for noncompliance with regulations on financial management and administration. The university’s probation was lifted in June 2009.

His business manager, Kenneth Goldman, wrote that Smiley wanted to pay $50,000 by the end of 2009 and $100,000 a year for the next nine years.

These terms were radically different from the agreed upon terms, that Smiley had committed to meet.

He also would no longer  try to raise money from outside corporate donors, further poisoning the deal.

TSU’s well-publicized problems made it impossible to raise money from corporate donors, Smiley said Friday. “And obviously, like most Americans, my personal income has been impacted by this recession.”

Still, he said, he intended to honor his commitment, even if it would take a decade to do so. Now, he said he will donate that money elsewhere.

That was the last straw for the administration of T.S.U. and the fired off a statement to Smiley saying…”Because you did not fulfill your original commitment to our partnership, TSU plans to treat the partnership as being at an end,” Rudley was quoted as saying in a Sept. 28 letter to Smiley… “

TSU’s school of communication recently announced that entertainment executive Matthew Knowles, CEO of Music World Entertainment and father of singers Beyoncé and Solange Knowles, began teaching in its entertainment and the recording industry program this fall, at the former Tavis Smiley School of Broadcasting and Entertainment.

Smiley, known for his Black Entertainment Television and radio work, maintains TSU officials named the school after him before he even agreed to donate the $1 million.

“I even made a joke, how much is this decision going to cost me?” Smiley said of a conversation he had with former TSU President Slade. “She said, ‘This decision has already been made.'”

One of America’s most celebrated and respected media personalities, Smiley hosts a half-hour nightly talk show on PBS, Tavis Smiley,” which reaches 92 percent of America’s households and is seen in 187 countries. His annual symposium, “State of the Black Union,” featuring America’s premier thought leaders, engages thousands of attendees and over 100 million viewers worldwide.

That’s all good, but, be that as it may, the administrators at T.S.U. are certain that his bark is worst than his bite, and that, given the main tool of a broadcaster is his mouth, Tavis may have a big mouth full of big talk and promises, but in the end, he had a pretty small wallet, to be playing at this level of philanthropy.

I can only look at this from a business stand point, and he basically reneged on a promise.

Tavis Smiley has stiffed Texas Southern University, so he gets his name stripped from the building, and will be banished from the campus, in a very public and embarrassing way.

Let’s hope that they can get back on track down at TSU, a school I hold in very high esteem.

For more information on Texas Southern University, click on the link below…

For more info on Tavis Smiley, click here…

2 Responses to “Tavis Smiley Stiffs T.S.U., Mouth Bigger Than Wallet”

    • Wow…Tavis keeps it moving!!!….Looks like Indiana University was the college he graduated from, so they probably have more of a
      personal committment to him, and at TSU it was about the money and donations, which was way more expensive…
      Thanks for the info…

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