On Monday February 16, more than 1,000 supporters of South Carolina State University held a rally at the State House to protest a proposal from a subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee that would close the school for two years. The good news is that the plan to close the university appears to be dead in the water.
But after hearing that the university has accumulated a deficit of $17 million, $4 million more than it had a year ago, the full House Ways and Means Committee voted unanimously to fire the university’s president Thomas Elzey and the entire board of trustees. The plan to oust the leadership will be included in the state’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Under the proposal, the university would be placed under the control of the state’s financial oversight board, led by Republican Governor Nikki Haley.
The new plan received unanimous support after U.S. Congressman Jim Clyburn and his wife, both graduates of South Carolina State University, released a statement supporting the plan to oust the university’s leadership team. In the letter, the Clyburns wrote that President Elzey “has precious little support from alumni and supporters, and minimal credibility with those who determine the school’s funding and academic status.”
Update: On Monday February 23, the board of trustees placed President Elzey on administrative leave and named W. Franklin Evans, interim provost at South Carolina State, as acting president.