Upgrading security measures at SC State a work in progress - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Upgrading security measures at SC State a work in progress


South Carolina State University trustees have big financial problems to solve.

This week, President Thomas Elzey submitted a remedial plan to state budget officials to address at $4.4 million projected deficit and a $13 million critical cash shortfall.

And that's not the only major challenge facing the school.

Some trustees and other community leaders said South Carolina State University has been slow to pull together an improved campus security plan.

"We can't continue to wait," said SCSU Trustee Tony Grant. "We don't know when the next situation might be around the corner. And as a trustee, there has to be some urgency scenario set up sooner rather than later and get this thing tied down."

"I can tell you the response time and those kinds of things, they were woefully lacking," said parent Calvin Wright. "We failed. And we need to do better because we need to protect our students, our faculty, our staff, even the surrounding community."

Those concerns follow last month's fatal shooting of student Brandon Robinson near a dorm area.

Police later arrested the man they believe pulled the trigger and several others said to have been involved in the incident.

A SLED agent told the board today the agency is still unable to discuss a possible motive for the killing.

But even as that investigation continued university police had to handle another case involving a gun on campus.

It happened Feb. 7 starting with a dispute between a male and a female student near Truth Hall.

School officials say the male student pulled a gun and allegedly pointed it at the young woman.

He was later arrested and charged with third-degree assault and battery and resisting arrest.

President Elzey and other administrators said upgrading security measures on campus remains a work in progress.

"There are lessons we've learned and things that we will do differently as we go forward into the future," Elzey said.

Campus Police Mernard Clarkson said given the limitations on his resources and staffing, some anti-crime measures have been successful.

The university said for instance, there were no robberies on campus last year.

Clarkson said SC State is taking new steps to increase safety, including a request to add 20 new call boxes on campus.

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