Trustees concerned SC State president wants more administrators

The Associated PressAugust 2, 2013 

THE STATE FILE PHOTO

— South Carolina State University’s new president is proposing adding six administrative positions he says are badly needed, although some university trustees question the idea.

The (Orangeburg) Times and Democrat reports that Thomas Elzey told the school’s board of trustees on Thursday that he wants to add three new vice presidents as well as positions for a provost, an associate provost and an associate provost for sponsored programs.

Trustee Robert Nance asked Elzey whether the positions could be created without board approval.

“I thought we spent the last two to three years trying to do away with a top-heavy administration,” Nance said during the meeting. “This plan seems to be bringing a heavy administration back.”

Elzey disagreed, saying some management and operations at the university have been neglected, and new administrators are needed.

“We don’t even have an annual campaign to raise money for this university,” Elzey said.

He added there is no enrollment strategy to attract more students, and the university has not had a capital improvement plan since about 2000. “If we want to bring the luster back to the university, we have to have the people to do it,” he said.

He said two vice presidents and another individual are no longer at the university, which will provide funding for the new positions.

Trustee John Corbitt said other presidents have appointed vice presidents without going to the board first.

But the board approved a motion that the bylaws committee meet with Elzey to discuss the policy and make a recommendation on how to handle the issue.

Elzey, formerly a vice president at The Citadel, has been on the job almost two months. He was hired earlier this year after a 13-month search for a new president.

The university had been searching for a president in March 2012, when George Cooper resigned after firing eight administrators following an internal investigation. The faculty senate also asked Cooper to leave, saying the historically black university was in a state of crisis.

In January, federal prosecutors charged the one-time chairman of the university’s board of trustees, Jonathan Pinson, with taking kickbacks. He is awaiting trial.

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