SCSU Alumnus says change needs to start at top - - Columbia, South Carolina

SCSU Alumnus says change needs to start at top

SC State graduate Maurice Jones SC State graduate Maurice Jones

"Turmoil. Crises," said Maurice Jones of his alma mater, South Carolina State University.

"The words that you use to describe the school at this time are not necessarily fitting for what I experienced when I was there," he said.

When Jones graduated in 1995, things weren't perfect. He admitted there were problems then but he said the school still turned out successful graduates and even gave him the tools he needed to start his own barbershop 18 years ago.

"Aside from all the difficulties we're having right now, I know my school has put out successful businessmen like myself and others that I know in commercial, industrial, in the military," said Jones. "So yes, I'm very proud."

He's proud of what he and his colleagues have become. However, he's not proud of the recent headlines highlighting budget problems, declining enrollment and corruption. Jones said change needs to happen and it needs to start at the top.

"Gutting the board," he said. "Starting over with a new president; having the alumni come together, like we normally do at this barbershop, talk about our concerns, the ways we can try to change and fix thing and fix the school. "I think that's a start."

At a meeting Friday with the board of trustees, Governor Nikki Haley says she wants SC State back on track.

"What I will tell you is you can't keep going the way you've been going," Haley told the board. "I can tell from all of you, it's frustrating for you. You can't keep functioning this way."

The board is currently still in the process of selecting a new president.

Jones wants to see change. But in the meantime, he has a message for the current students:

"Just keep doing what you're doing," he said. "Stay positive. You can't let the negative, even though we're in crisis, you can't let the negative outweigh what we're trying to do because ultimately we're trying to be like we were 100 years ago. We haven't always been a bad, negative, turmoil-type of school."

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