Texas Southern President Placed on Leave While Investigation Into Spending Continues
The provost at historically Black Texas Southern University has been placed in charge of the school’s operations while the university’s president is on paid leave pending the results of an investigation into her spending.
Dr. Priscilla Slade, currently in her seventh year as president, was placed on leave on last month after questions surfaced about money she spent on landscaping at her new home. There were also allegations that she had amassed nearly double the $50,000 annual limit on her school-issued credit card. She has been asked not to comment on the issue by the university’s board of trustees.
“It’s just unfortunate that this incident has come up at a time when the university is moving forward at such a rapid pace,” says Dr. Sanders Anderson, faculty senate chair and associate professor of political science.
Dr. Bobby Wilson, provost and vice president for academic affairs and student services, will assume responsibility for university operations during the investigation, according to a letter posted on the school’s Web site from J. Paul Johnson, chairman of the board of regents.
University officials say Slade’s spending was questioned after a board member invited to see her new home was told that its furnishings had been paid for by the school.
A search into the school’s records found that $85,000 in furnishings at the president’s new home had been charged to the school. Two previous presidents had done similar things, King says.
At its February meeting, the board decided to look into some of Slade’s other purchases. The search revealed that a bill for $138,159 was paid for by the school to cover landscaping on the home. Slade paid the bill a week after it was discovered by the regents, claiming it was sent to the school in error.
King says a verbal report by the law firm looking into spending procedures prompted the board to suspend Slade indefinitely with pay. She believes something will be done by the next meeting on May 5.
In the meantime, Wilson will oversee athletics, strategic development, construction and the physical plant. Dr. Charlene Evans, the school’s senior vice president of university relations and ombudsperson, will oversee human resources, the office of development and external affairs. Dr. Gayla Thomas, senior vice president for enrollment management and planning, will assume additional responsibilities for areas under information technology.
— By Marlon A. Walker
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