TSU officially parts with president after admissions scandal

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

The decision comes weeks after the board voted six to one to fire him.

Following the vote, Lane had 30 days to appeal the decision, which he did. Lane met with a mediator and worked out a settlement that the board officially accepted and voted unanimously on Thursday.

Dr. Lane sent ABC13 a statement regarding Thursday's actions, "The vote was for a buyout close to $900,000, and they stated publicly that there was no wrongdoing."

Thursday's decision was met with a hostile situation as a large number of people packed the room in support of Lane.

Lane had been placed 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.

Earlier this month, after the vote to fire him, 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."

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.

"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.

After placing the decision to place Lane on leave, CFO Ken Huewitt was named the new acting president. The terms of Lane's severance deal were not immediately disclosed.

TSU released the following statement:

The Board of Regents today announced that Dr. Austin Lane has entered into a settlement agreement with the University, officially ending his tenure with TSU.
The agreement was reached after a 13-hour mediation session on Monday in which both sides aired their grievances before a former judge. Dr. Lane accepted the mediator's settlement agreement, and the full Board was made aware of the details of that agreement at today's Board meeting and voted unanimously to accept the terms of the settlement.

The Board believes that the settlement agreement is in the best interest of moving forward the academic mission of TSU, and in the best interests of the students, faculty and the community at large.

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