SC State won't close, state will take over control
Representative McKnight hopes the new president will be an SC State alumni and able to attract donors.
SC State president Thomas Elzey will probably be removed from his position in the new plan.
By: Sanne Rodriguez
South Carolina House lawmakers have done away with the proposal that would shut down South Carolina State University for two years to recover from its massive $17 million debt. Instead they're proposing a new plan that would allow the university to open under state supervision.
The House and Budget Committee approved the plan Thursday. Under this new proposal, the school's Board of Trustees would be fired and the state government's Budget and Control Board would take running the school. The Board, led by Governor Nikki Haley, would have the power to fire SC State president Thomas Elzey and hire an interim president to oversee the changes at the university.
"I'm hoping it's an alumni of South Carolina State," State Rep. Cezar McKnight said. "I'm hoping it's someone that has a proven track record in not only running the day-to-day business of the school, but attracting donors to the school."
McKnight, a member of the Black Legislative Caucus, says the new leaders will probably reduce the faculty and staff to try to bring the costs until control.
Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter, another Black Caucus member, thinks this is the plan lawmakers should have had in the first place and are glad they are focusing on the board instead of the school as a whole.
"I hope this will serve as a wake-up call to alumni, legislators, and students, that there is a commitment to SC State," Cobb-Hunter said.
On Thursday, Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman introduced a bill in the Senate to replace the board of trustees and hand over control to a temporary five-member board appointed by the governor, and the House and the Senate leaders. Details of the proposals will need to be worked out and approved by the full House and the Senate.