Six bills take aim at fixing issues at S.C. State - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Six bills take aim at fixing issues at S.C. State

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

State legislators are keeping S.C. State University on its radar with several bills milling around in the General Assembly that mostly focus on the university's board and how members are elected.

There are six bills in the General Assembly right now introduced by various state representatives. Four of the six deals specifically with the university's board of trustees by adding a member, requesting a ballot question to allow for members to not be qualified state electors and removing all current board members effective July 1.

  • H. 3572 adds a member to the board of trustees, making the total to fourteen board members. It was introduced Feb. 20 and is now with the Committee on Education and Public Works.
  • H. 3445 was introduced Jan. 29 to revise the number of board members for the university, as well as the way they are elected considering the new Seventh Congressional District. It is now with the Committee on Education and Public Works.
  • H. 3393 was introduced Jan. 23 asking for the General Assembly to elect individuals to serve on the board, making the current board members' terms expire July 1, 2013. The bill was referred to the Committee on Education and Public Works.
  • H. 3446 requests that S.C. State board members not have to be South Carolina residents and deletes older references to being a qualified state elector. This proposal is a resolution to place a question on the next general election ballots. It was introduced Jan. 29 and then referred to the judiciary committee.

The other two bills are in the Senate, with S. 391 asking for the board of trustees to delay its search and president selection until after the seats for members in three congressional districts and three at-large seats are filled. The bill was introduced Feb. 14 and received a favorable response from the education committee Feb. 27.

The last bill is S. 415 asks for $60 million in state capital improvement bonds for S.C. State to build a new classroom building and student center. This bill was introduced Feb. 21 and referred to the finance committee.

The controversy with the board arose in past months when the board's former chairman Jonathan Pinson, along with former S.C. State Police Chief Michael Bartley, was indicted on federal financial kickback charges. In addition, the university faced severe budget issues, which took a lead in the public eye when the board could not pass a budget for the current fiscal year until December, admitting to a $6 million deficit.

The university has also experienced an enrollment decline this year with actual enrollment reaching 3,824 students when 4,180 students were projected.

Most recently, Gov. Nikki Haley met with the board of trustees, telling them to be more transparent and put their differences aside to function professionally.

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