HOUSTON — The former president of Texas Southern University spoke out Thursday after the board or reagents voted to fire him on Tuesday.
Dr. Austin Lane provided a paragraph-by-paragraph rebuttal to the accusations made by the board. He’s calling it a witch hunt.
“Wow, this really is a witch hunt. I have never been involved in my 20-plus years of higher education,” Lane said.
Lane said the action taken against him isn’t fair because he’s done nothing wrong.
Lane said he never even knew about the allegations that led to his firing. He believes the board did not follow due process. He said he requested an open hearing to discuss this in public.
“I have a record that speaks for itself,” Lane said.
On Tuesday night, the board of regents voted to fire Lane, accusing him of being connected to an admissions scandal involving thousands of dollars and an employee who was fired.
“They provided no evidence. If you look in the document, (there's) none whatsoever,” Lane said.
Lane was also accused of using “excessive money” from the TSU foundation for entertainment proposes.
“Nothing was excessive. These are things we do to cultivate donors with private money. Not state money. Nice try, but you will not put me in that bag,” Lane said.
Lane said he’s been given bonuses every year for meeting his goals. In September, he received a contract extension. Now, Lane is accusing the board of a list of violations he says they committed.
“I have to tell some board members, 'No, we can’t hire your sister or your brother.' They have not been real happy with it. I am not going to jail for them,” Lane said.
Alumni who came to the media event Thursday hope the university and the president can come to an agreement, for the sake of the university.
"I really hope that this university is protected (and) we don’t have rogue members that are going to jeopardize our institution,” Jeffery L. Boney a TSU alumnus.
So what’s the next step for Lane? He has 30 days to fight his termination.
He said he will meet with his attorney and his wife and will decide on the best option going forward.
He provided an eight-page rebuttal to the letter they provided him on Tuesday.
We have contacted the attorneys for TSU for reaction to Lane’s comments, but have not heard back.