HOUSTON – Texas Southern University Board of Regents addressed why they made the decision to place the school’s president on paid administrative leave.
The board said after meeting with the Chief Internal Auditor, an independent counsel and a third-party investigator on Jan. 10, the Audit Committee recommended to place President Austin Lane on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues after finding “improprieties related to the admissions process.”
KPRC 2 has reached out again to Texas Southern University Board of Regents representatives for comment on the specifics of the alleged “improprieties,” but has not received word back yet. KPRC 2 will share any updates.
In November, a TSU employee was fired over admissions issues. The board did not state whether Lane was involved.
While officials would not comment on the specific nature of the irregularities in November nor in the release shared Friday, they said the findings of the internal audit were turned over to local authorities and that the school is cooperating with investigators.
Lane told KPRC 2 he was caught off guard when he first heard of the news.
“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 on January 10. “I expect to be reinstated immediately or paid out for the remainder of my contract for breach of contract.”
When Lane was asked on January 10 if his suspension was connected to the admission process, he claimed that he’s never discussed any violations with the board and he has a stellar reputation and record.
The board replaced Lane with Kenneth Huewitt as acting president.
The TSU Board of Regents released the following written statement:
As the investigation continues, we urge everyone in our TSU community to comply with University policies and internal audit and litigation risk management protocols; and we will continue to cooperate with the independent investigations by law enforcement. As we said in November, the University's academic integrity, trust of students, faculty, alumni and the public at large are of utmost importance.
We thank the TSU community for its patience while we balance the competing interests of respect for ongoing internal investigations and external criminal investigations with the desire to provide additional context for our recent Board action. The Board is dedicated to ensuring all activities at the University are conducted in an ethical and balanced manner in accordance with the University’s mission, vision, and values.