Students, alumni to rally to support SC State - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Students, alumni to rally to support SC State

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On Saturday morning a plaza at South Carolina State University will be packed with community members, teachers, alumni, and students.

Two of those students will be seniors Kelsey Butler and Aaron Russell.

"9 a.m. is early, but at the end of the day, we're here to get our education," Butler said. "We go to classes at 8 a.m., so it's even earlier than that."

Russell said they are marching to make a difference.

"We need to show ourselves and the community that we're here, we're still Bulldog strong, and we're here to make a difference," Russell said.

They won't be here for class, to buy books, or for football.

Instead the thousands are expected to rally on campus to support the school.

Willie B. Owens is president of the Orangeburg alumni chapter which helped plan a march from the downtown square to the campus where the thousands will rally for more funding for the school and more support from the state, among other things.

"For years we have not received the appropriations we should have," Owens said.

The university has been in the headlines lately.

It was placed on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, mainly for financial problems.

Trustees resorted to cuts to balance a budget.

Now, the university is trying to get an additional $12 million loan to pay a number of debts, a loan Governor Haley won't yet support.

"When I see a man in a ditch, I'm not going to ask who put him in the ditch," Owens said. "The first job is to get him out of the ditch. We will rally until we get South Carolina back on its feet."

So on Saturday Butler, Russell, and the others have their work cut out for them.

Pound the pavement and hope politicians are donors are listening.

"There have been mistakes in the past, but we're moving forward, we're learning, we're building, and we're growing, and we want to contribute to this community," Russell said.

The march will start at 9 a.m. from the Downtown Orangeburg City Square and end up at the K.W. Green Student Center Plaza on campus.

The rally will go on rain or shine.

If there is bad weather, it'll be held at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium on campus.

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