HOUSTON - Texas Southern University alumni are speaking out after the board of regents placed the school's president on paid leave. There are a lot of questions surrounding the decision. Some TSU graduates say they want to focus on what they do know. They point to increased enrollment and graduation rates since Dr. Austin Lane has been president. They also say they know what's happening now isn't good for the school overall.
This historically black university is a school that has been on the mend.
“The university has been through some ups and downs and some turmoil, and we hate to have the name of the university stained with what is perceived as a scandal and it's really not,” says TSU Graduate Andrea Odom.
So why did the Texas Southern University Board of Regents vote seven to one to place Dr. Lane on leave?
“It sounds like there might be some personal dynamics at issue and if that's the case it's never too late to sit down, reconvene and forge a path forward. That is my hope and that the focus remains on the success of the university,” says TSU Alumni Alaina Benford.
”I personally hope the board meets and they reinstate Dr. Lane. They haven't given a reason as to why he was removed,” adds Odom.
Some TSU alumni tell FOX 26's Damali Keith that Lane's leave comes after he made decisions regarding the law school before running the changes by the board but the board isn't confirming that.
”Texas Southern University has got to create a board that allows for stability and transparency,” explains Odom.
”It would be important for them to take time to learn the university, get to know the university and perhaps work out any personal dynamics before making any permanent decisions,” adds Benford.
The board members were appointed by the governor and many don't live in Houston. A friend of the TSU president says when the regents made the decision Friday, Lane learned he was on leave from text messages from his staff and supposedly still hasn't been told why.
“It is very concerning. We've now had reports from regents that they have concerns about the process. To the extent that there was not a process that allowed all stakeholders to participate, particularly staff and the president. That is concerning. Many of the regents are lawyers themselves, as am I. So we know the importance of allowing the process to play out,” says Benford.
The TSU alumni say if Lane hasn't committed a major impropriety, then he should be reinstated because he has done great things for the university.
“He has brought more life and re-engagement from alumni, from students. Homecoming is back on the yard this year for the first time in 12 years. There are so many positives, not to mention the foundation. The Maroon and Gray Gala itself, which was created by the Lanes, has raised over $2.5 million,” says Odom.