ORANGEBURG -- A warning placed on South Carolina State University by its accrediting agency was lifted after the school demonstrated clear lines between the role of the administration and the Board of Trustees, the university's president said Wednesday.
S.C. State President George Cooper told media and staff members at a media roundtable that after "a lot of conversations and a lot of hard work," the board adopted policies clearly defining financial and other responsibilities.
Cooper also talked about strategies to boost enrollment and about several campus buildings in various stages of construction.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools issued the warning about a year ago. The association's director said at the time that the warning was based on five areas of concern, all of which had to do with the Board of Trustees and whether it overstepped its authority in 2007 when it decided not to renew the contract of former President Andrew Hugine.
Cooper also said that many students and parents over the past year were misinformed and thought the university wasn't accredited, but that was never the case.
He said he is glad that the university can now move beyond the warning. That's important because the school is in the reauthorization process for its accreditation, Cooper said, something that higher education institutions must do every 10 years.
The university should know by March whether its accreditation is reauthorized. "We have some challenges, but we're confident" it will happen, he said.
The university also is working to boost enrollment at the school. This past fall the school fell more than 500 students short of its goal of 5,102 students.
Cooper said recruitment strategies include contacting students who previously attended the school and encouraging them to return, developing transfer programs with two-year schools, and encouraging alumni to participate in recruitment fairs.
Antonio Boyle, director of admissions, said about 31 percent of S.C. State students come from the Lowcountry, and more than half of them are male. That's important, he said, because the school's enrollment is about 65 percent female.
Many colleges across the country have higher percentages of women enrolled.
Cooper also shared the status of four building projects.
Historic Lowman Hall has been renovated and staff will move in during winter break; construction of an engineering and science complex and expansion to Hodge Hall, a biology and chemistry building, are under way.
The university plans to begin construction in March on a new building for its James E. Clyburn Transportation Center, Cooper said.
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