Another call for leadership change at S.C. State
S.C. State University faces a crisis in confidence and needs a dramatic change in leadership, an Orangeburg legislator said.
State Rep. Jerry Govan, a Democrat, has filed a bill calling for the replacement of all members of the university’s Board of Trustees as of June 30. Govan, an S.C. State alumnus, also has called for the board to be restructured.
His proposal includes reducing the number of board members from 13 to 11: one member representing each of the seven congressional districts, three members selected by university alumni and one by the governor.
Several of the state’s other colleges and universities allow alumni to select some board members, Govan said.
“I think it’s worked well for those institutions, and it will work well for South Carolina State University,” he said.
Govan is not the only state legislator calling for change at the board level.
Earlier this month, Sen. Robert Ford, D-Charleston, said he’s rallying support among members of the General Assembly to replace all members of the university’s board.
Both calls for change come in the wake of months of upheaval at the state’s only public historically black university. The school is mired in an unspecified investigation of alleged criminal, ethical and mismanagement problems at the board and administrative levels, Reggie Lloyd, former chief of the State Law Enforcement Division, has said. The university hired Lloyd to help with the investigation.
“I don’t think we need people who are engaged in improper activities on the board or involved in selecting the next president,” Govan said.
University President George Cooper has announced that he is stepping down on Friday.
“Obviously, we have some issues at the institution,” Govan said. “With Cooper stepping down, it’s a good time to replace the board as well.”
Parents now are making decisions on where to send their children in the fall, he said.
Enrollment is down, Govan said, and “student enrollment is the lifeblood of the university.”
As an alumnus, he said, “I’m thoroughly disgusted with the whole situation. We need to stop moving from crisis to crisis.”
S.C. State has a rich history of giving people access to higher education, he said. “It has nothing to hang its head about. But let’s restore the luster.”
Reach Diane Knich at ?937-5491.