ORANGEBURG -- Jonathan Pinson stepped down as chairman of South Carolina State University's Board of Trustees on Friday.

Pinson's resignation from the board's leadership post marks another change amid a confusing state of upheaval at the state's only public historically black university.

University spokeswoman Erica Taylor said Pinson will continue on the board at the Orangeburg school.

She said Pinson is stepping down as chairman so he can devote more time to his personal business, which has become more demanding. But he looks forward to continuing to serve, Taylor said.

Earlier this month, President George Cooper fired eight high-level employees as part of an unspecified internal investigation.

The school released the names of the eight people who were fired Thursday. They are Edwin Givens, general counsel and chief of staff; Michael Bartley, chief of police; Joseph Pearman, interim vice president of finance; Charles Smith, vice president of student affairs.

Also, Lowan Pitt, associate vice president of student affairs; Lillian Adderson, director of student life and leadership; Brantley Evans, director of campus services; and Gene Breeland, director of intramural sports.

According to letters released by the university, the eight employees were let go for "conduct unbecoming of a state employee that substantially affects your fitness to perform assigned duties and that reflects unfavorable on the university, and your substantial failure to follow university rules, policies and procedures."

Cooper has said he would not discuss the nature of the investigation until it is complete. But the university has hired attorney Reggie Lloyd, former chief of the State Law Enforcement Division, and Charleston attorney D. Peters Wilborn, from the firm of Derfner, Wilborn & Altman, to deal with it.

Pinson did not physically attend the board's last meeting on Feb. 16, but he participated over the phone.