HOUSTON - The Texas Southern Community is overwhelmingly outraged after the announcement that the university’s president has been terminated. The drama started unfolding a month ago when it was announced that Dr. Austin Lane was suspended while an investigation was being conducted.
The vote was 6-1 in favor to terminate Dr. Lane as president of TSU, a role he carried since 2016. Those who are heavily involved in the TSU community say this was a low blow to someone who was respected.
Marcus Davis, TSU Class of 1996, attended the meeting.
“What occurred yesterday was a travesty. It was a miscarriage of justice, it was an abuse of authority," he said.
Dr. Carolyn Evans-Shabazz is a City of Houston Councilwoman, and a TSU alumni.
“For one reason or another there were some allegations made. Now, from what I heard I don’t see where they would rise to the level of termination," she says.
The board came to this controversial decision after more than five hours. The move to remove Dr. Lane as president was not received well by those in attendance at the meeting.
The termination comes after Dr. Lane was suspended last month. The board of regents launched an investigation, and claims that Dr. Lane failed to report improper admissions payments to the law school, and improperly awarded scholarships to students.
“There’s been no proof of any legal authorities being involved other than the chair trying to get the legal authority involved," said Davis.
There are those who feel the board’s decision was justified.
“The board did its job. They gave the reasons for doing their job, and I think they had the power and the right to do what they needed to do," said James Douglas, a Law Professor at TSU.
“You never know all the details, but of course it affects the community. It affects the population. Historic school, been here for so long. So it makes students feel a bit uneasy, you know we would like to fix it as soon as possible," says TSU grad student Sterling Menendez.
It’s proving to be a dark moment for the university, but Dr. Lane wants nothing more than to clear his name.
“They’ve been spending the last four hours trying to negotiate with me and my attorney here for a buyout that we would not accept. Why? Because we didn’t do anything. So we will see you in 30 days," said Lane.
FOX 26 is waiting for more details about when that appeal will take place. CFO Kenneth Huewitt will continue to serve as acting President.