Lawmakers adjourned Tuesday after they failed to reach a compromise on replacing the S.C. State University of Board of Trustees.
A six-member conference committee could not immediately resolve competing bills -- the House version that would remove all trustees by June 30 and the Senate version that would replace the board over the next three years.
The committee’s only S.C. State alumni -- Rep. Jerry Govan and Sen. John Matthews -- backed the slower pace in the replacing the board citing threats to the school’s accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools if members were ousted all at once.
Reps. Gilda Cobb-Hunter and B.R. Skelton said immediate change is needed after a series problems at the state's only public historically black college.
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They favor the House version that would replace trustees with a temporary seven-member board that would serve for two years until a new 11-member board is appointed.
The Orangeburg school is facing declining enrollment and ongoing financial shortfalls, including deficit of about $5 million for its current school year. Former SLED chief Reggie Lloyd has said his internal investigation of S.C. State found unspecified criminal issues, but no charges have been filed.
Trustees just hired an interim president to replace George Cooper, who resigned in March after eight high-ranking school officials were fired. No reasons were given for the dismissals.
The board has three openings after resignations this year.