S.C. State University clarified the authority of its president Tuesday during a conference call vote aimed at addressing concerns raised by the school's accrediting body.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools warned S.C. State last year that the school needed to clarify that the president, not the board of trustees, should have fiscal control over athletics and fundraising.
Lingering questions about how former university president Andrew Hugine was fired as well as concerns about the finances of an annual S.C. State football game played in Charleston led to the warning from SACS.
Maurice Washington, a former board chairman, backed the Charleston game as an important fundraising opportunity for the Orangeburg school, though others questioned whether it was a good idea.
If the university fails to address the concerns raised by SACS, S.C. State - which is now fully accredited - could eventually lose its accreditation, which would be a huge blow for a school already struggling financially.
But in a pair of voice votes opposed only by former chairman Lumus Byrd Jr., who remains a member of the board, trustees voted to make clear that:
- The president shall direct, coordinate and implement the planning and development of all fundraising activities for the university, except for those of the school's independent foundations
- Ultimate responsibility for the university's athletic programs rest with the president.
"As the university's governing body, we understand the importance of updating our policies to stay current with higher education standards, most especially as we continue to prepare for our 2010 reaccreditation," Board Chairman Jonathan Pinson said.
S.C. State officials will meet with SACS officials in Atlanta in December to learn if the changes made Tuesday satisfy the accrediting body.
- Wayne Washington