The Trials and Tribulations of Texas Southern University

Enrollments at Texas Southern University, the historically black educational institution in Houston, are at a five-year low. This fall 9,544 students enrolled. That enrollment number is a decrease of 15 percent from a year ago. In 2004 there were 11,635 students on campus. Ninety percent of the student body is black.

Rising tuition, the university’s dismally low graduation rate of 15 percent, and the announcement by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools that it is undertaking an unscheduled appraisal of the institution, which could bring its accreditation into question, all have undoubtedly hurt enrollment levels.

But a string of bad publicity has probably also played a role. As we went to press the jury was deliberating in the trial of former TSU president Priscilla Slade who is accused of spending hundreds of thousands of university dollars for personal use. Also, a videotape, widely viewed on the Internet, shows university students swatting at a swarm of bats in a TSU dormitory. One student claimed to have killed dozens of bats that had infested the building.