A subcommittee of the South Carolina House of Representatives has approved a plan that calls for closing historically Black South Carolina State University in Orangeburg for two years. The lawmakers have been frustrated by continuing budget deficits at the university.
Under the plan, all of administrators, trustees, faculty, and staff would be let go. Students with grade point averages of 2.5 or better would receive scholarships from the state for use at other publicly operated educational institutions in the state.
Under the plan, the university would hold classes again in the fall of 2017.
The plan to close the university would have to be passed by both houses of the state legislature and would need Governor Nikki Haley’s support.
In a news conference held after the vote, South Carolina State University President Thomas Elzey said, ““I want to make one thing clear: South Carolina State University will not close.” However, he acknowledged that the vote would cause harm because it will make it harder for the university to attract students or raise money.
In addition to organizing a grassroots campaign to lobby legislators, an alumni group has threatened a lawsuit if the legislative plan moves forward.