What’s wrong at Texas Southern University?

Dr. Austin Lane (left), Kenneth Huewitt (right)

Dr. Lane out, Kenneth Huewitt in

Pending the outcome of an independent investigation into Texas Southern University admissions, enrollment, financial aid and scholarship protocols, President Dr. Austin Lane has been placed on administrative leave and CFO Kenneth Huewitt has been named the interim president by the TSU Board of Regents.

After being made aware of the decision, Lane commented, “I haven’t done anything and haven’t been informed of being placed on administrative leave by the board … I expect to be reinstated immediately or paid out for the remainder of my contract for breach of contract.”

Lane’s fate was decided at a TSU board retreat at the Houstonian Hotel where the nine board members voted seven for, one against and one abstaining. Although the board issued a statement affirming their commitment and stating there would be no further comment at this time, two board members have expressed their opinions to media.

Board member Derrick Mitchell, who voted against Lane being placed on leave, said the board “may be doing an injustice.” Board member Ron Price, who abstained from voting, was concerned about how the action was taken and said, “that was not classy, it was unbecoming of the board.”

In addition to the Lane decision made by the TSU board, on the same day, Huewitt fired Lane’s special assistant Wendell Williams, who had filed two grievances against TSU board member Wesley Terrell. The latest complaint in late November alleged Terrell made comments about Williams’ wife and her attire.

Many in the media alleged the “paid leave” was connected to the November internal investigation of admissions improprieties at the law school, which resulted in the dismissal of an employee.

Other sources, including excerpts from TSU board meetings online, indicate the board actions may be unrelated to admissions.

The allegations range from disrespect for the board (Oct. 25, 2019 board meeting), management decisions related to the build-out cost of Lane’s wife’s office on campus and discrepancies in enrollment numbers.

According to sources, the date of the investigation outcome is unknown at this time.