In the keynote address to Texas Southern University graduates, Texas state Rep. Harold Dutton sharply criticized the school’’s Board of Regents for their handling of fired president Priscilla Slade.
“You (regents) are directly responsible for the unsuccessful management and government of TSU,” said Dutton, a Houston Democrat and TSU alumnus.
The regents were sitting on a nearby platform while Dutton addressed the school’s summer graduates Saturday. Through a spokeswoman, TSU Board Chairman J. Paul Johnson later said he felt that commenting on Hutton’s remarks would be inappropriate.
Slade, 54, was fired by the regents in June following accusations she misspent hundreds of thousands of school dollars to furnish and landscape her home. A grand jury indicted her earlier this week on two charges of criminally misusing university money for her private benefit.
An inquiry by an independent law firm found that Slade spent more than $260,000 on house-related costs. An audit also concluded she spent nearly $650,000 over the past seven years on purchases not allowed under her contract.
After the speech, Hutton later said he felt the regents were as much to blame as Slade because of the board’s responsibility to oversee TSU’s fiscal management. He also said that “we can’t go on and allow this same board to pick another school president.”
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.
If convicted, Slade faces anywhere from five years of probation to life in prison, and a fine of up to $20,000. A judge set her bail amount at $100,000.
— Associated Press
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