Bill Introduced to Remove Law School From Texas Southern, Operate as Standalone Institution

A bill that would separate the Thurgood Marshall School of Law from Texas Southern University is drawing criticism from university leadership just over a week after the legislation was introduced.

Texas Rep. Harold Dutton, an alumnus of both Texas Southern and the Marshall School of Law, filed the bill on Feb. 25 which would transfer operational oversight of the law school from the TSU Board of Regents to its own separate governing body, and would grant eminent domain for the new board to purchase land in support of the new school’s operation.

In an email to alumni, Texas Southern President Austin Lane laid out the university’s disapproval of the bill, and alluded to a potential legislative plan to move the university into one of the state’s systems of higher education.

You may have heard about a bill (HB2383) that was filed last week in the Texas House of Representatives. HB2383 proposes a separation of TSU’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law (TMSL) from Texas Southern University. It is important to note that there were no discussions with TSU’s administration or Board of Regents prior to the filing of this bill. Likewise, TSU is unaware of any plans or discussions among state legislators regarding TSU becoming part of a university system, which we understand to be the rationale behind this bill.

TSU is very proud of its history as an independent public university – one of just four in Texas (in addition to Midwestern State University, Stephen F. Austin State University, and Texas Woman’s University). From a fiscal perspective, TSU has made tremendous strides in the past several years, including our latest Moody’s ratings, which give the University a “stable outlook” due to our financial practices, healthy reserve, days cash on hand, and a capital expenditure plan that is updating and modernizing the university in substantial ways.

If passed in its current form, the law school would be removed from Texas Southern on September 1.