ORANGEBURG — Between 50 and 75 South Carolina State University students are protesting outside the Board of Trustees meeting, calling for the group to hire interim president Cynthia Warrick as the school’s permanent president.

Discussions on the decline in enrollment and compensating for a $6 million budget deficit are competing with student chants, a drum, and the amplified music of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Gonna Come.”

The university’s Board voted 6-5 to continue its search for a permanent president despite a call from the student body president to hire Warrick.

Student Government Association president Nathaniel Shazier brought a student petition to today’s board meeting calling for the group to hire Warrick.

Several board members opposed to calling off the search said Warrick was the top candidate for the job, but they wanted to continue the search to make sure they found the best leader possible.

Shazier, who attends board meetings but can’t vote at them, left the meeting after the vote.

The SGA sent a tweet to students, calling them to leave class and gather at Lowman Hall, where the board meeting is being held, to protest.

Check back at for updates. Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.