Palmetto Sunrise: S.C. State community rallies in wake of closure debate

Grace Beahm/Staff South Carolina State University in Orangeburg.

S.C. State has been rattled by the House proposal to shutter the school’s doors for more than a year as a way of solving its financial crisis. And while it’s still unclear where the high stakes political back-and-forth at the Statehouse will lead, the college’s community has rallied behind it.

“We need you to show your support,” Rep. Joe Neal told a crowd gathered outside the capitol on a chilly afternoon earlier this week. “We need you to express your opinion and presence as forcefully as you can. We need to support these schools financially so that they don’t have to depend on the Legislature that doesn’t want to fund them.”

The Hopkins Democrat said he opposed the no-confidence vote the Black Legislative Caucus took last week on university President Thomas Elzey.

Sen. Marlon Kimpson, D-Charleston, also promised to try to kill the House’s proposal in the Senate if it makes it that far. The proposal is expected to receive more debate later this week.

Elzey was among those who planned on attending the caucus meeting. He told Kimpson, however, that even if the measure didn’t advance in the Senate, S.C. State must now try to fix the negative image the proposal has created.

“Our students are scared,” Elzey said.

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