Gov. Nikki Haley to SC State Board: "You can't keep functioning - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Gov. Nikki Haley to SC State Board: "You can't keep functioning this way."

Gov. Nikki Haley met members of the SC State University Board of Trustees on Friday and told them many changes were necessary. Gov. Nikki Haley met members of the SC State University Board of Trustees on Friday and told them many changes were necessary.
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Gov. Nikki Haley met with South Carolina State University's Board of Trustees Friday afternoon in hopes of aiding the struggling university come to grips with its troubles.

"How can I help you?" Haley asked to the board to start the meeting.

Soon after, Haley heard from the board on how they might be able to move forward from the challenges that have brought unwanted attention to the school.

The university found itself under federal investigation as the FBI spent four months listening in on and recording cell phone conversations from former board chairman Jonathan Pinson's phone.

Pinson, and the university's chief of police were eventually indicted on federal financial kickback charges.

The university's then-president, George Cooper, resigned from his seat after an investigation of his own uncovered violations that he called "beyond" his control. Eight employees were fired as a result.

The university has also struggled with its finances, with millions of dollars cut from its budget in an effort to overcome budget deficits. Enrollment has dropped in the past few years, causing a further drop in revenue.

In the meeting, trustee Dr. John Corbitt touched upon many of those issues, and said perception has lead students and others to believe that everyone on the board are "crooks."

Haley suggested the board open up its meetings in an effort to create transparency. However, she was also blunt in her assessment of what the board needs to do moving forward.

"You can't keep functioning this way," Haley said.

The governor posted a small statement on her Facebook page shortly after the meeting ended, calling the university one of South Carolina's greatest assets.

"They were honest," said Haley. "I'm thankful for that, and I look forward to working with SC State's leaders to bring stronger accountability, leadership, and trust for what is a flagship university in our state."

Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved.

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