Texas Governor proposes takeover of Texas Southern
The governor proposed a state takeover of beleaguered Texas Southern University and called for the resignations of the regents at the historically Black school.
Gov. Rick Perry’s advisory panel recommended last month that TSU revamp its nine-member board, focus on a new mission and be under strict oversight by the state auditor. But Perry thought the recommendations did not go far enough, his spokeswoman said Friday.
“It’s more than just having a clean slate,” Krista Moody said. “We need to make changes to the way the university operates.”
A report by TSU’s interim chief financial officer outlined overspending, missing purchase orders and poor financial projections at the school. It highlighted flooded basements in several buildings and said the athletic program was $2 million over budget.
Perry said the school would function more efficiently with a conservator, essentially a one-person board. The governor has already put the state’s juvenile prison system under conservatorship after allegations of sexual and physical abuse of inmates.
Top lawmakers would have to authorize the move before Perry could appoint a conservator.
Conservatorships are generally in place for a year, Moody said, after which the state would evaluate the university’s progress.
TSU interim president J. Timothy Boddie Jr. said he was caught off guard by the announcement, but understood the advantages a conservatorship.
“Ideally, the conservator will be able to get the job done and get us back on our feet quicker,” he said. “It’s a matter of expediting the process.”
A university spokeswoman said the board members were not available for comment. TSU Regent Bill King told KHOU-TV: “It’s probably an unfortunate but necessary step at this time.”