Texas Southern University has begun the process of revoking the tenure of former President Priscilla Slade so they can relieve her of her teaching duties as an accounting instructor.
In a statement, the university said the process of terminating faculty tenure was “a grave matter” but “is found to be apropos in this incident.”
The university’s faculty manual states, “The president may suspend an accused faculty member pending immediate investigation or speedy hearing as hereinafter provided when the continuing presence of the faculty member poses … an ongoing threat of disrupting the academic process.”
Under the university’s rules, Slade has 30 days to file a grievance with the provost, who would appoint a committee of seven faculty members to consider the case. After holding hearings, the panel would then make a recommendation to the university’s president. A final decision could still be many months away.
Slade, meanwhile, will be placed on paid leave. Texas Southern policy states that administrators can return to the classroom at 75 percent of their administrative pay, based on a nine-month academic year for professors.
Campus officials told The Houston Chronicle that Slade’s adjusted salary would be $208,275 a year, making her the highest-paid professor on campus.
Nationally, about 2 percent of tenured faculty are dismissed in a typical year. The National Education Association says that it is a myth that tenure is a lifetime job guarantee.
“Tenure is simply a right to due process,” reads the NEA’s Web site. “It means that a college or university cannot fire a tenured professor without presenting evidence that the professor is incompetent or behaves unprofessionally or that an academic department needs to be closed or the school is in serious financial difficulty.”
University regents voted in April to dismiss Slade after she was indicted on two counts of criminally misusing university money for her private benefit. Authorities say she misspent $1.9 million of school funds, using the money in part to furnish and landscape her home.
Slade, who served as president of the historically Black university for more than six years, has denied any wrongdoing and has filed a civil lawsuit against the school. Slade earned a doctorate in accounting from the University of Texas at Austin.
— By Shilpa Banerji
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