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Texas Southern Takes Step Back to Stability


Texas Southern University has a new, five-member board of regents, confirmed by the state Senate on Friday. The appointments come after weeks of uncertainty about the historically Black institution’s future caused by the resignation of the entire previous board at Gov. Rick Perry’s request.

Perry asked the board to step down last month amid the school’s financial problems, and he initiated impeachment proceedings against the board chair, who had initially refused to resign. Perry appointed the new board on Thursday, with the state Senate voting unanimously to confirm them the next day. The confirmations came in time for the HBCU’s weekend commencement ceremony. 

“With a capable and committed board of regents in place, students can be assured that their degrees will be awarded on time, and Texans can know that the process of reforming this proud university is moving forward,” says Perry. 

The appointed members are Gary Bledsoe, Richard C. Holland, Glenn Lewis, Enrique Javier Loya and Richard Salwen. The non-voting student regent, Larry Taylor of TSU’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law, does not need to be confirmed by the Senate.

“We look forward to the outstanding contributions they are going to make to the university,” says Gayle Barge, the university’s director of marketing and communication. “We are excited about the opportunity the university will have in benefiting from their expertise.”

Since Perry asked for the resignations, all university-related plans have been put on hold, including the search for a new president. TSU’s former president, Dr. Priscilla Slade, is facing criminal charges for allegedly using hundred’s of thousands of dollars of university funds to decorate and landscape her home.

With a new board in place, the search for a new president can begin again. The contract for interim president James T. Boddie Jr., has already expired, and Dr. Bobby L. Wilson, the school’s provost and vice president for student affairs and students services, is currently serving as the school’s leader.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the new regents are expected to select former Xerox executive Kerney Laday as TSU’s new president.

Concerns that the resignation of the former regents would jeopardize the school’s accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges in School turned out to be false.

“As far as the former board members are concerned, they are still members until the new ones are confirmed. It’s Texas law,” says Dr. Belle Wheelan, president of SACS. “The school is not headed in any direction in which they would lose accreditation.”


Brief Biographies of the Newly Appointed TSU Regents:

·         Gary Bledsoe: A former assistant attorney general for the state of Texas and president of the Texas branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. His term is to expire Feb. 1, 2011.

·         Richard C. Holland: The president and founder of Holland Advisors, a supply chain management consulting firm and member of the board of SharePlus Federal Bank. His term is to expire Feb. 1, 2013

·         Glen Lewis: An attorney and partner of Linebarger, Goggan, Blair and Sampson, L.L.P., and a member of the executive board of the Texas Arthritis Foundation. Lewis served in the Texas House of Representatives for 10 years. His term is to expire Feb. 1, 2013

·         Enrique Javier Loya: The chairman and CEO of Houston-based CHOICE Energy and a member of the board of directors for the University of Houston Center for Mexican American Studies, Junior Advancement of Southeast Texas, Houston Parks and United Way. His term is to expire Feb. 1, 2009.

·         Richard Salwen: A member of the advisory council St. Edward’s University School of Management and Business, a former vice president and general counsel with Dell, Inc., and a former attorney for Electron Data Systems and the Federal Aviation Administration. His term is to expire Feb. 1, 2013.

–Margaret Kamara

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