TSU former president claims innocence after board fires him

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Texas Southern University board of regents has officially voted to fire its president, Dr. Austin Lane.

The board met Tuesday night to decide Lane's future, voting six to one.

"They didn't mention anything that links anything to myself or any of my administrative team. We didn't hear one fact that they were able to prove with anything that they said today. What they said today was false," Lane said.

In a four-page letter, Lane is accused of failing to report an admissions fraud scheme involving a law school student, spending excessively on entertainment that was allegedly paid with money from the TSU foundation and obstructing the school's investigation.

Lane spoke to ABC13's Chauncy Glover, saying, "I would never do anything to embarrass myself, my family, our supporters, or my students, faculty, staff, and alums of this great historic institution. My reputation and track record speak for themselves and we have done it the right way, even in the face of adversity. I have always maintained that I haven't done anything and you have the documents to prove that as they relate to admissions."

Lane was put on paid administrative leave in early January after it was revealed in October 2019 that the TSU law school was tied to admissions 'improprieties', specifically pay-to-play school admission.

"In October of 2019, members of the Board of Regents informed Dr. Lane that members of the Board, the Chief Internal Auditor and external Board Counsel had been in contact with local law enforcement given the confirmation of the improprieties in the admissions process. One University employee involved in the admissions process had already been terminated," TSU said in a statement.

They say after meeting with Lane on two separate occasions, and after interviews with the Chief Internal Auditor and Special Board Employment Counsel, they made the decision to place Lane on paid administrative leave and name a new acting president, Kenneth Huewitt.

Huewitt is the former TSU chief financial officer.

SEE ALSO: TSU law school tied to admissions improprieties.
During Tuesday night's meeting, emotions were raw as TSU students and alumni reacted to the decision to vote to fire Lane.

"I'm actually disappointed. I came in with Dr. Lane in 2016. I'm graduating in May so this is kinda heartbreaking for me," said student Aaliyah Ford.

"I'm mad like everybody else. Livid. It's some trumped up stuff that I can't say on censored television," said alumna Andrea Odom.

Lane has 30 days to respond to the board's decision, which he says he will.

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