BY Shannon Najmabadi
After placing President Austin Lane on administrative leave last week with no explanation, the Texas Southern University Board of Regents today issued a statement saying Lane was interviewed about previously disclosed “improprieties in the admission process” in recent months.
The board’s Jan. 17 statement does not tie Lane to the alleged improprieties — for which one employee has already been fired — nor did it clearly state why Lane was placed on leave. But the statement says Lane was interviewed twice by the chief internal auditor and legal counsel and that regents met with the auditor, independent counsel and third-party investigators for about seven hours before placing him on leave Friday.
“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,” the statement says. “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.”
Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Huewitt is serving as acting president.
Last fall, the board announced that an internal investigation found “certain improprieties related” to Texas Southern’s admissions process.
A November statement from the university says the “person involved with these improprieties” was no longer employed at Texas Southern and that information had been turned over to local authorities. The board has launched a comprehensive review of the university’s admissions, including enrollment, financial aid and scholarship protocols at each of its colleges, and brought in auditors, attorneys and experts to help “The University will have no further comment until the investigative process is complete,” the statement said.