Two members have resigned from South Carolina State University’s Board of Trustees, marking the latest upheaval on the beleaguered Orangeburg campus.
Board members Matthew Richardson and retired Gen. Walter Johnson sent a joint letter Monday to Gov. Nikki Haley, S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell and John Courson, president pro-tem of the S.C. Senate, announcing their resignations.
“We no longer believe the board can reform itself or effectively govern,” the letter stated.
The resignations come amid other severe problems at the university in recent months, including the firing of eight high-level employees; the resignation of the president and chairman of the Board of Trustees; and an unspecified criminal investigation.
And state legislators are considering several proposals to restructure the university’s board.
Richardson, a Columbia attorney, said he tried to make improvements. He wrote a letter to the board six weeks ago about what needed to be done to improve the situation at the university, but nobody took any action on it. “I made tremendous efforts to turn this ship around,” he said.
Johnson, who lives in Georgetown, could not be reached for comment.
In their letter, the former trustees stated: “We respectfully request the leadership of this state come together now, with urgency and constructive purpose, to install new leadership at South Carolina State University to preserve this great treasure and the opportunities it gives so many people of South Carolina.”
The people of South Carolina deserve better, it stated. “We deeply regret we could not deliver it.”
Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.