Columbia, SC—South Carolina State University (SCSU) may join the growing list of Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) that have been under attack by politicians for years.
On Tuesday, South Carolina House officials voted to shut down the university for one fiscal year starting July 1, 2015 and resume operation during the 2016-2017 academic year. This proviso would suspend all athletic programs, terminate the president, faculty and staff, as well as the board of trustees.
According to official House documents, the state will assume all debt and pay off all outstanding bonded indebtedness, debt to vendors, and loans made from the Contingency Reserve Fund. Furthermore, South Carolina State students would be transferred in-state to another institution with their tuition & fees procured as long as they maintain a 2.5 GPA.
The university has a past of budgetary issues. Higher Education Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Jim Merrill said that it’s time to stop “messing around the edges” when it comes to the universities financial chaos. Leaving the question, would it be cheaper to just keep the university open and assist them until they can stand alone?
SCSU isn’t the only HBCU that has faced these kind of issues, closer to home Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) nearly missed a blow last May (2014) when lawmakers amended a bill that would’ve looked into the consolidation or closure of the university.
SCSU President Thomas Elzey pleaded in front of the Higher Education and Technical Colleges Subcommittee last week saying that they are taking steps into providing the best quality education for their students.
The process is far from over though as the proviso must first be presented to the full House Ways and Means committee, the full House of Representatives, and the Senate before going to Gov. Nikki Haley’s desk for approval.
Leaving many wondering as time progress, how will HBCUs survive?
Related: Full SC State Provisio
McKinley Strother, WTKR Intern