By a vote of 10 to 3, the board of trustees of South Carolina State University has voted to terminate the contract of President James E. Clark, effective immediately. It is generally believed that President Clark was fired for his failure to reverse a substantial decline in student enrollment. In 2011, there were about 4,500 students enrolled at the university. In the fall of 2019, prior to the onset of the pandemic, fewer than 2,500 students were enrolled. During the spring 2021 semester, there were fewer than 2,000 students enrolled.
James E. Clark was named the 12th president of South Carolina State University in 2016. Clark had been a member of the board of trustees of South Carolina State University for the year prior to his appointment as president. He had also been chair of the University of South Carolina Research Foundation and a member of the board of trustees of Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina.
Clark had a successful career in business as a vice president of AT&T’s computer division and as an executive for Exxon, Gillette, and General Electric. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Sloan School of Management at MIT.
The board of trustees of South Carolina State University has named Alexander Conyers as acting president of the university. In May, Conyers was appointed vice president for strategic alliances and initiatives at the university. Conyers had a 28-year career in the U.S. Army. He served at the Pentagon as deputy assistant secretary of the Army.
Conyers is an alumnus of South Carolina State University, where he majored in criminal justice. He holds a master’s degree in corrections from the University of South Carlina and a master’s degree in public administration from Troy University in Alabama.