South Carolina State University’s Board of Trustees took on a challenge three years ago to get “the ox out of the ditch” in dealing with the school’s financial and administrative troubles, President James Clark said at Wednesday’s board meeting.
Things are going well for the university, he said. The most recent evidence is that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges sent a notice requesting no additional monitoring reports on the health care MBA program.
“Right now we’re in very good standing with SACS,” Clark said.
SACS President Dr. Belle Wheelan will be present at the board’s July meeting, he said.
S.C. State’s seven-member, temporary board was created in 2015 to help the university move beyond its difficulties. A new, 12-member board will replace the temporary board on July 1.
During Wednesday’s meeting, Clark also reported that more than $500,000 was donated by alumni over Reunion Weekend, and that private giving is up 21.5 percent.
Donations to S.C. State may cross the $2 million mark this year, he said.
Fall undergraduate admissions are up 8 percent from last year, although total applications are down 7 percent, he said. At the time of the meeting, total students enrolled for the fall was down 13 percent, although more students are expected to enroll before the start of the fall semester.
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After discussion, the board approved a continuing resolution allowing the university to continue operating into the 2018-19 fiscal year. The S.C. General Assembly hasn’t passed a state budget yet.
S.C. State is proposing a nearly $72 million budget for the coming fiscal year. Clark said the school will likely be a little under budget for the year.
Chairman Milton Irvin said, “The ox may be out of the ditch,” but “our finger is still in the dike” as far as dealing with the school’s issues.
Cuts were made in the operating budget across all departments because revenue is expected to be down, Vice President for Finance and Management Teare Brewington said.
“This was not a happy process,” Clark said. But having a balanced budget “means making tough calls,” he said.
In other business:
• Irvin recognized new trustees who will join the board on July 1 who were present at Wednesday’s meeting: Gerald Hubbard Smalls, Daniel Varat, Rodney Jenkins, Wilbur Shuler and Hamilton Grant.
• Trustees approved on several items, including tenure and promotions for several faculty members, a hazardous waste policy, a revised faculty handbook and a policy on policies.
• The board entered closed, executive session to discuss legal, contractual and personnel matters. After returning to open session, trustees voted to approve an amended contract with Clark.
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