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Brighter and cleaner buildings at S.C. State; giving to university shows increase of 56%

Ken Davis, director of facilities/planning and construction at South Carolina State University, gave university board trustees an update on the projects being done to make the campus brighter, cleaner and safer.

"If you've been on the campus recently, you see that we have some brighter looking buildings, cleaner looking buildings," Davis told trustees on Oct. 6.

LARRY HARDY, T&D 

S.C. State students, from left, Jaylen Polk and DeSharah Israel spend a part of Wednesday, Oct. 13, assembling outdoor seating as a part of the Home Depot Retool Your School campaign. 

"There's been some pressure washing going on, some painting going on. If you had the opportunity to attend the first home football game, the stadium was completely pressure washed before the start of the season. So it looks a lot better," Davis said.

Current projects include the renovation of the university's student center and HVAC replacements at Felton Laboratory School. Upcoming projects include the renovation of the university's Brooks Health Center and ROTC building and the second phase of stabilization work on Wilkinson Hall.

"We've just recently been awarded three roofing projects, and we have three more that are out for bid. The three that have been awarded are at the Whittaker Library, Brooks Health and Moss Hall. The Moss Hall and Crawford Engineering Building are together as one," Davis said.

Water-proofing work at Belcher Hall, the chiller replacement at Truth Hall and the Orangeburg Massacre Memorial located in the heart of campus are among the university’s completed projects.

LARRY HARDY, T&D 

Completion of the Orangeburg Massacre Memorial located in the heart of campus is among the South Carolina State University’s projects.

S.C. State’s cleaning protocols are also continuing as part of its pandemic response efforts, with additional contract workers being hired to perform additional touch point cleaning on campus.

"That process has started. C&W (Cleaning Services) has started to hire folks. Their schedule will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. doing the touch point cleaning throughout the campus, mainly our academic spaces. And then there will be an additional person that'll just be doing disinfecting at night. ... C&W also has a certified Level 3 cleaning team on site," Davis said.

The university's coronavirus response measures also include the delivery of 300 bottles of hydrolite disinfectant and 20 cases of hand sanitizer, along with the construction of more than 200 Plexiglas sneeze guards for service counters, lobbies, desks and offices.

Also during the administration/operations report, Staff Senate President Franklin Pressley reported that the group was conducting a salary equity study and working to boost staff morale. He said the group's membership has increased, with a goal to have 30 new members by the end of October.

Public relations, institutional advancement, alumni relations

LARRY HARDY, T&D 

Carena Grace Kelly beautifies the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority space on the campus of S.C. State. 

A private giving report from July 1 through Oct. 1, 2021, from the university's Office of Institutional Advancement revealed that 989 donors had given a total of $615,962 to the university. Total giving is up more than 56%, while the average gift is down 9%. The financial goal for the end of next year's fiscal year is $5 million.

Money raised from current fundraising initiatives include $40,580 from the Student Impact/GAP Fund and $39,635 from a Bulldog Express funding initiative.

Hank Allen, president of the S.C. State National Alumni Association, said the association had a new team of officers elected in July.

"Our key focal point is on activation. What we mean by activation is having all of our alums be able to go out and identify other alums who might not be engaged, friends and companies and potential sponsors to get them to reconnect with the university and provide additional support for the university and the association," Allen said.

Growth, engagement, collaboration and education are the association's four strategic pillars, he said, with an action committee already set up to help foster alumni representation from each of the state's 46 counties "so that we can have relationships with politicians in those particular counties."

He said collaboration was the third pillar, with the alumni association to launch its own fundraising campaign to complement the existing $1.25 million “Ready All to Do and Dare” fundraising campaign recently started by S.C. State Interim President Alex Conyers.

Allen said keeping alumni educated about what is going at the university was also key.

"We have to do a better job of informing our alums. President Conyers has done an extremely outstanding job. We want to continue to do that, and one of the ways in which we want to further that is to have university town hall sessions, where we get specific leaders from the university and have conversations, discussions with our alums so they know exactly what's going on and they can also offer their support," he said.

Trustee Jameel Allen Sr., chairman of the Public Relations, Institutional Advancement and Alumni Relations committee, said a comprehensive marketing plan will be among a couple to be sent out. He said both are "working documents" and additional input on their development was welcome.

As part of the report, the trustees approved the renaming of two of its campus facilities.

The speech clinic located in the rear of the university's Lewis Building will be renamed after Dr. Harold Powell, an S.C. State alum whose accomplishments include developing the curriculum for and initiating the undergraduate program in speech pathology and audiology and opening the first speech, hearing and language clinic on a collage campus in the state.

The Nance Hall first floor auditorium will be named after Leon Myers, an assistant math professor at S.C. State who passed away April 28 and spent nearly 50 years in the Department of Computer Science and Mathematics at S.C. State. He also contributed to the athletics department, including having served many years as one of the coordinators of the academic enhancement component beginning in 2002.

Athletics, student services

Trustee Daniel Varat, chairperson of the students affairs and athletics committee, reported that Dr. Tamara Jeffries-Jackson, vice president for student affairs, has kept efforts going to increase the number of internships offered to students and their placement in jobs and graduate and professional schools.

He said her staff have engaged employers through the university's Career Center as much as possible amid the pandemic and "has kept those efforts going very aggressively."

He said students have also still been able to engage in various community service activities "whether it be at local schools, local churches or other efforts that they can make."

The university's current fall 2021 enrollment stands at 2,379. The projected enrollments for the spring 2022 and fall 2022 semesters stood at 2,097 and 3,000, respectively.

Varat said work to improve student retention included the university’s attendance at college fairs and application days at high schools and at regional events across the state, while also engaging alumni, faculty, staff and students.

In the area of athletics, Varat said the university has a full slate of fall sports going on and that teams continued to compete hard.

He said S.C. State Athletics Director Stacy Danley is also adding additional members to the athletics department.

"It's going to help a lot from the perspective of academics and compliance. He's adding three new members to his academic support staff, and he's looking for three new members in compliance," he said.

Varat said he has requested Danley put together a larger workshop presentation for the board on Title IX and what it means from a "compliance, competitiveness and legal standpoint."

Varat said upgrades to several facilities, including locker rooms, help the university recruit more student athletes, and also help it stay in line with federal Title IX requirements.

"It's a compliance issue, especially when you're talking about the women's sports," he said.

As part of Varat's report, the board approved changes to the university's sex discrimination and harassment policy, specifically to the sexual harassment grievance procedures under the hearing and appeals portion of the policy.

Sponsored research, information technology

Trustee Macie Smith, vice chairperson of the sponsored research and IT committee, said the university had 84 research proposals totaling $16.3 million during the 2021 fiscal year.

Conyers said federal CARES Act money will be used to improve the university's IT infrastructure.

"Upon notification of the latest round of CARES Act money, I stated to my immediate cabinet that my number one priority of that funding was IT upgrades. So there is a large portion of this last round that's dedicated toward IT upgrades and the things that deal with being able to enhance our delivery platforms for instruction," he said.


Local
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T&D Region litter cleanups start soon

Orangeburg County Litter Control is hosting their fall cleanup event from Saturday, Oct. 16 to Sunday Oct. 31.

Marie Canty of Keep America Beautiful stated that Orangeburg County has an extreme litter problem, and she hopes to see over 200 participants involved in the cleanup in the following weeks. She added that past volunteers have been excellent, and she looks forward to meeting new people who wish to improve the county’s image.

Canty said volunteers can sign up by visiting her office at 1550 Henley St. in Room 103, calling at 803-533-6162, or emailing at litter@ornageburgcounty.org to pick your own date, time and street. They will provide trash bags, trash sticks and safety vests for all volunteers. Canty added that it isn’t just the spring and fall cleanup where people can make a difference; her office will offer supplies yearround to those who wish to make a difference by keeping their county clean.

Calhoun County

A Calhoun County countywide litter pickup event is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 15. The county hosts a countywide pickup three times a year.

All the materials will be provided for volunteers.

The cleanup will begin at 9 a.m.

Volunteers will need to pick up supplies either the day of the event at 8 a.m. or the day before between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.at the Calhoun County Annex Building.

Bamberg County

Bamberg County will hold a countywide fall cleanup from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 23.

Individuals can preregister their teams, select a cleanup site and get cleanup supplies for the event by calling Be Bamberg coordinator Laura McKenzie at 803-943-6587. Free T-shirts and water will also be provided.


Crime-and-courts
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28-year-old charged in beating death of man, 79

An Orangeburg man is now facing a murder charge in the death of a 79-year-old man.

Quincy Alphonso Carr III, 28, of Benthomp Road, initially faced the charge of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature after deputies found a bloodied Edmund William Huff on the floor of the assisted living home.

The assault took place on Sept. 24.

Huff has since died.

He would’ve turned 80 on Thursday.  

Carr, who also has a Columbia address, appeared before Orangeburg County Magistrate Stephanie McKune-Grant on Wednesday afternoon.

Carr has remained at the Orangeburg County Detention Center, without bond, since Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested him the day of the assaults at the residence he shared with three other men.

Carr is also facing a third-degree assault-and-battery charge for allegedly assaulting another of his roommates at the same time.

That roommate claimed Carr punched him in the face for no reason.

Carr alleged that the roommate called him a “n - - - - “ and swung at him, the report states.

He denied Carr’s claim.

Deputies found Huff “laying on the floor with blood all over his face and the floor.”

Huff’s “eyes were purple and swollen shut along with his nose being bloody,” the report said.

The deputy also reported that it appeared there were teeth on the floor beside Huff and an unknown liquid appeared to have come from him.

Huff wasn’t able to answer any of the deputy’s questions.

A helicopter flew the injured man to a trauma hospital.

According to the incident report, Carr allegedly claimed that he was hitting the first man and Huff must have gotten on his back, so he began to hit him too.

A witness alleged Carr assaulted Huff, then walked out of the room but returned moments later to “beat him more,” the report states.

If Carr is convicted, he faces up to life in prison.


Agriculture
editor's pick alert
Saundra Glover, Funderburk get key S.C. USDA positions

COLUMBIA — South Carolina 6th District Congressman James E. Clyburn praised the appointment of Dr. Saundra Glover as the U.S. Department of Agriculture South Carolina state director of rural development and Laurie Funderburk as the USDA South Carolina Farm Service Agency executive director Wednesday.

“I want to thank President Biden for accepting my recommendations and making these outstanding appointments to the South Carolina offices of the USDA,” Democrat Clyburn said. “Dr. Glover and Ms. Funderburk have led distinguished careers, and I am confident their extensive backgrounds and experiences working with South Carolina’s rural and farming communities will allow them to continue to serve this state well.”

Glover is the former vice president for research and economic development at South Carolina State University and distinguished professor emerita at the University of South Carolina.

During her career, she has demonstrated a commitment to the advancement of economic development in rural South Carolina. She has a wealth of experience developing comprehensive socioeconomic policies and addressing the disparities that limited-resource farmers face when impacted by natural disasters.

She is a graduate of South Carolina State University and received her MBA and Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina.

SCSU institutes student retention measures

South Carolina State University is working to improve its student retention rate with comprehensive measures, including the hiring of professional advisors and the review of its retention activities.

Funderburk was a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from 2004 to 2020. In the state legislature, she served on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, where she advocated for needed infrastructure, housing and other resources for farming communities.

Born into a farming family, she understands the challenges facing rural communities. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina Honors College and the University of South Carolina School of Law.


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