FOIA should apply to private schools

On Sunday, June 26, I read with interest the editorial concerning the Freedom of Information Act.

A private school, supported mainly by parents and students who attend, is not governed by FOIA.

Records of prior performances by an administrator can be made legally unavailable to prospective employers by the administrator.

A school board is chosen to make critical decisions concerning the hiring and firing of employees, etc. They are not held responsible for mistakes or questioned about their decisions.

People who support the private school should be informed as to why certain actions are taken.

Children are at stake when questions are unanswered. Maybe the FOIA should be put into action at private institutions.

-- Anna Stewart, Orangeburg

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‘Grand plan’ for S.C. State

This correspondence is written to express and expose the hypocrisy and lack of integrity demonstrated to the higher education community in two regards:

• The process of selecting James E. Clark, an already retired corporate executive, as the new president of South Carolina State University.

• The total disrespect of Dr. Franklin Evans’ leadership and the university’s team in strategically ascending S.C. State from probation to being reaffirmed as an accredited higher education institution.

These types of governance decisions are a travesty and not indicative of accountability, transparency and results/outcomes.

Sadly, it is my belief that the university board of trustees planned this action from the beginning. The university has over the past decade had four different presidents, which indicates a lack of continuity and stability in leadership -- a kind of paradoxical incongruity and dualistic inconsistency in a flawed process that lacked truth and veracity contradictory to the tenants of higher educational principles.

Finally, it appears that the “grand plan” is to make South Carolina State University a carbon copy of the University of South Carolina at Orangeburg. It is my hope that Gov. Nikki Haley was not involved in this travesty and that the S.C. State will not be deja vu prior to Dr. Evans’ arrival.

-- Samuel T. Rhoades, JD, Emporia, Virginia

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Animals are counting on you

The discovery in June of a dead, emaciated dog in Orangeburg County with his muzzle tightly wrapped in duct tape is not the first such case in South Carolina. A dog named Caitlyn was found last summer in North Charleston with her muzzle bound by electrical tape, apparently as a punishment for barking "too much." She had reportedly been kept chained.

Excessive barking is usually a sign that a dog is distressed, lonely or neglected — as most chained dogs are. PETA's field workers see dogs like this every day, suffering from infected wounds where their collars have become embedded in their skin; forced to live in their own feces; suffering from heartworms, mange and malnutrition; with no shelter from the searing heat or biting cold; and denied what they want most — love and companionship.

PETA helps by urging people to let dogs live inside with the family, replacing heavy chains with lightweight tie-outs and providing sturdy doghouses, low- to no-cost spaying and neutering, fresh food, clean water, flea and tick treatment, veterinary care, and moments of desperately needed attention.

You can help, too. Watch out for neglected animals in your neighborhood and report abuse and neglect immediately. Animals count on kind people to speak up for them.

-- Craig Shapiro, PETA Foundation, Norfolk, Virginia

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