The former Texas Southern University president fired in June for allegedly spending hundreds of thousands of the school’s dollars on personal purchases is teaching accounting courses there this semester.
Dr. Priscilla Slade, a tenured professor in TSU’s Jesse H. Jones School of Business, was indicted by a Harris County grand jury four weeks ago on two felony charges of criminally misusing university money for her private benefit. She is accused of using the money to furnish and landscape her home, as well as to buy club memberships, sporting event tickets and spa treatments.
Slade, who was president for more than six years, has denied wrongdoing and filed a lawsuit against the university. If found guilty, Slade could face life in prison.
According to TSU spokeswoman Winifred King, Slade’s tenured professorship is “a lifetime appointment.”
TSU could move to revoke Slade’s tenure, which she received before becoming president. If she filed a grievance in response, a committee of faculty members would recommend action to the president and board of regents, who would make the final decision. University policies do not clearly state who is responsible for challenging a professor’s tenure.
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.
The university has raised tuition and eliminated 178 jobs since Slade’s firing to make up for a multimillion-dollar budget gap.
Some faculty members, administrators and students were surprised to see Slade on campus.
“We’re in a financial bind because of her,” says Apache Goudeau, a senior majoring in business management. Goudeau says he is not sure how Slade will be able to avoid the issue in class.
“I’m sure everyone wants to ask her about it,” he says. “I just want to know what happened.”
— Associated Press
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