A South Carolina State University trustee released a draft of Dr. George Cooper's evaluation as president, showing him with a 2.56 on a five-point scale.

Cooper was evaluated on 15 issues including his professional image in the state government, his ability and willingness to keep the board informed and his understanding of the goals and mission of the university.

Board Chairman Jonathan Pinson said the version given to The T&D by trustee Walt Tobin is incomplete and unofficial.

"A negative report doesn't mean you have to lose your job," Pinson said. "It means here are some areas we need to work on."

Several weeks ago, the board voted 7-4 not to renew Cooper's contract. Pinson has called a special meeting Thursday to reconsider hiring Cooper. At that meeting, incoming trustees Robert L. Waldrep Jr. and Patricia Lott replace Lumus Byrd and Earl Bridges Jr., who both voted against renewing Cooper's contract.

Cooper's lawyer, Donald Gist, said, "It is quite surprising that this evaluation document has been leaked to the media one day prior to the board meeting to discuss Dr. Cooper's future at S.C. State University."

He said his client's performance response was not, "objectively evaluated by several board members who used this unofficial scoring document to justify his removal."

Cooper was not given the chance to see where the board thought he was deficient, nor did it give him the opportunity to improve on those alleged deficiencies, Gist said.

Tobin declined to comment on Pinson's statement that the evaluation process was incomplete.

He would not say if the evaluation he gave the T&D was official, but said "That's information we provided you with based on the information we had."

The evaluation found Cooper weak in planning for the future, promoting efficiency and handling change, according to the version provided to The T&D.

It indicates more than 70 percent of the board said they did not trust in and believe in Cooper as a director.

The evaluation provided to The T&D also contains comments apparently from individual trustees, such as:

n "While the mission of this school remains that of educating our youth, the President does not seem to grasp the ‘big picture' of how the budget, fundraising, etc. all strategically must work together to ensure the integrity of the Academy in terms of attracting and retaining the best and brightest faculty and students."

* "I think he should be given an objective of at least 1 million dollars," for fundraising.

n "There needs to be some accountability for reducing the ever-increasing crime rate on the campus ... people are talking about it in the community ... drugs, guns, assaults."

n "I am not sure he is aware of all expectations and how to meet them."

The evaluation also contains concerns about declining enrollment and the lack of a strategic plan for the university. It also includes complaints of his "mind-numbing e-mails" and "lack of energy for the job."

Pinson said the copy of the evaluation The T&D received was the first part of a process. The second part was to give Cooper a chance to respond. The third step was for the board to sit down with Cooper to discuss the board's expectations.

If they had done so and discussed it with Cooper, some of them might well have decided he made improvements and accomplishments, Pinson said. They might have changed their evaluations.

Cooper had written his response, but all of the board members had not received a copy, Pinson said.

Releasing the incomplete evaluation to the media at this time was an injustice to Cooper and his family, he said.

Among the documents given to The T&D by Tobin is Cooper's list of his accomplishments, such as:

n Research funding is expected to have increased 19 percent over the year before, exceeding the goal of a 10 percent increase.

n Overall giving has increased 72 percent to $1.6 million.

n The university has been preparing for its reaccreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

n University cabinet positions have been filled.

n The university will begin offering Chinese courses in the fall.

n Lowman Hall renovations were completed, Hodge Hall Annex work was almost complete and the first phase of the Clyburn Transportation Research Center is advancing, among other improvements.

The file also contained information from Dr. Evelyn Fields, chairman of the Faculty Senate. It stated that 70 percent of 80 faculty members who completed a survey said they were dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied, with Cooper's leadership.

There are approximately 200 faculty members at S.C. State.

Contact the writer: dlinder-altman@times anddemocrat.com or 803-533-5529.

(4) comments


Ok why would you want to bring him back? If anyone else had this kind of evaluation they would be out of the door too. BOT , suck it up take the criticism and move on. I agree he didn't represent SCSU very well. He lacks energy and just appears to be someone waiting for a second retirement on the state of SC. The BOT should have never hired him in the beginning and now they are trying to fix their mess. Cooper doesn't have the qualifications for a university president and the board knew ut.


In the two years of his role as President, Cooper has done more for Academics than any previous President in two decades. Yes he didn't take from Academics to do meaningless favors for Students like his predecessor did. He concentrated on what was important -- Academics. For that we are grateful.

concerned95 : He just pis**d off certain thieves on campus who have friends and partners within BOT. That is the reason for the bad evaluation. Nothing more!


I'm sorry but that evaluation is shady. It seems very opinionated. I'm telling you Cooper is a man who has his own mind, and the trustees hated it!


An open letter to Unicco: Either reinstate ADT Alarm Company, or else immediately secure another company to replace them. At present, due to under-the-table, dealing between SODEXHO and Smalls, several Academic bldgs. are without Fire and/or Burglary protection and have been for almost a year.

This is a total disgrace and is illegal under State Law!

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.