Texas Southern University fires its president for breaches of contract

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The Texas Southern University Board of Regents decided to fire President Austin Lane after a four-hour executive session Wednesday night, KPRC-2 reported.

Afterward, TSU released a statement saying that the firing was spurred by an inquiry that found inconsistencies in college admissions and other breaches of contract, the TV station website reported. The inquiry was performed by an internal auditor, board counsel and third-party investigators.

The statement said that Lane was accused of several instances of malfeasance, including that he:

  • didn’t inform the board about allegations that a former law school official accepted a bribe to allow a student admission to the school;
  • tried to conceal excessive entertainment expenses using a method that prevented the board’s scrutiny of the expenses; and
  • attempted to direct another former law school official to misrepresent a report to a national law school accreditation review board.

“The board took additional steps to confirm its findings utilizing three separate law firms to assist with the process,” the statement said.

Regents abruptly placed Lane on administrative leave during a January meeting with little explanation, and Lane said he was caught off guard by the move, the TV station reported.

Attendees at the meeting Wednesday night expressed their frustration at the board’s 6-1 vote to remove Lane. Their comments came before the statement was released explaining more about why Lane was fired. 

Houston City Council member Carolyn Evans-Shabazz called for more transparency when the vote was announced.

“They need to be very candid in what’s going on so that people will know exactly what’s happening here,” she said. “As far as we know, [Lane] has done a great job.”

The website noted that a TSU employee was fired over admission irregularities last November, but it’s unclear if Lane was involved.

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