HOUSTON – The Texas Southern University Board of Regents put President Dr. Austin Lane on administrative leave indefinitely Friday, pending an investigation by the audit committee.
The issue was discussed during a Regents’ meeting at the Houstonian Hotel Friday afternoon. Lane will be on leave with pay during the investigation.
Lane told KPRC 2 he was “caught off guard" by the news as he hadn’t been informed by the board that he was being put on leave.
“I haven’t don’t anything and haven’t been informed of being placed on administrative leave by the board on their 5-4 vote split down the middle,” Lane told KPRC 2. “I expect to be reinstated immediately or paid out for the remainder of my contract for breach of contract.”
Lane told KPRC 2 he wasn’t invited to either the closed- or open-door meetings of the Board of Regents Friday. He also claimed that he’s never discussed any violations with the board and he has a stellar reputation and record.
The university’s Chief Financial Officer, Henneth Huewitt was named interim president, the board announced in a statement.
Lane said he is in the first year of a three-year contract and his lawyer is working to determine if the board is violating Lane’s contract by putting him on leave and appointing an interim president.
“The Board is committed to ensuring all activities at the University are conducted in an ethical and transparent manner in accordance with the University’s mission, vision and values,” officials wrote. In the statement, they did not explain why they moved to put Lane on administrative leave.
Lane, who is the twelfth president of the university, started his tenure as president in 2016.
In November, a TSU employee was fired over “improprieties related to the admissions process." It is unclear if the investigation into Lane is related to the irregularities that led to the employee being fired.