Wednesday letters: Give new S.C. State leaders a chance

February 5, 2014 

SC State House

AP

— We do not need to dump on S.C. State University with another investigation right now, when the new president has come to the General Assembly — six months before the fiscal year ends — through a letter to the Budget and Control Board, outlining the reasons for a projected shortfall of $4.4 million.

According to President Thomas Elzey, the shortfall was “due primarily to declining student enrollment,” but he also listed other factors, including significant debt service, a reduction in federal Plus Loan and Pell Grants for students and the loss of certain non-recurring revenue.

The president outlined major initiatives underway to address these problems, some of which already have begun to work. Most importantly, he invited lawmakers to visit him or the university’s chief financial officer to answer any questions.

The state budget director has asked for a written plan within two weeks to deal with the shortfall.

This president was hired less than one year ago when the school was swirling with alleged breach of trust and impropriety. The board is in transition and soon will be composed of almost all new trustees.

We as lawmakers must give the new administration and board time to implement the programs they believe necessary to get the school back on the right track.

Instead of pointing fingers and calling for an investigation, we should remember how vital S.C. State is to South Carolina and that we are all in this together.

Sen. John Matthews

Orangeburg

Sen. Marlon Kimpson

Charleston

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