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Trustees oust Clark as S.C. State president
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Trustees oust Clark as S.C. State president

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President James Clark

South Carolina State University President James Clark discusses the university with S.C. House Ways and Means Higher Education Subcommittee members in January 2020.

South Carolina State trustees voted 10-3 Tuesday to remove James Clark as university president.

The 10-3 vote came after a two-hour executive session.

Board Chairman Rodney Jenkins said upon the return to open session, "The board took no action in executive session. At this time I would like to offer a motion, and the motion that I'm offering is that I move to terminate President Clark's employment agreement for cause pursuant to Section 7.1 of the employment agreement effective immediately." Trustee Ronald Friday seconded (not Trustee Jameel Allen as reported earlier).

No discussion was made afterward the motion was seconded.

Voting in favor were Trustees Starlee Alexander, Jameel Allen, Macie Smith, Louvetta Dicks, Ronald Friday, Douglas Gantt, William Oden, Wilbur Shuler, Daniel Varat and Jenkins. Voting against were Trustees Doris Helms, Monica Scott and Donnie Shell.

Jenkins made a second motion to appoint retired U.S. Army Col. Alexander Conyers as acting president until further action by the board is taken. Trustee Smith seconded the motion.

Voting in favor were Trustees Oden, Scott, Shell, Shuler, Smith, Varat, Jenkins, Alexander, Allen, Dicks, Friday, Gantt and Helms. There was no one in opposition.

Conyers, an S.C. State graduate, was named by Clark as vice president for strategic alliances and initiatives in May.

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Jenkins made a statement at the end of the meeting: "The motion of the board was voted to terminate the president for cause pursuant to Section 7.1 of the employment agreement. The board thanks President Clark for his service to South Carolina State University over the last five years of his term and wishes him much success in his future endeavors."

Shortly after 1 p.m. Tuesday, the university issued a similar statement from Jenkins:

"The majority of the Board has voted to terminate President Clark for cause pursuant to Section 7.1 of the Employment Agreement, effective immediately. The Board thanks President Clark for his service to South Carolina State University over the last five years of his term and wishes him much success in his future endeavors."

Clark, who has been president since 2016, has been under fire from trustees, faculty and alumni for enrollment declines at the university. In March, the faculty senate voted “no confidence” in Clark’s presidency.

S.C. State trustees during a May meeting voted 9-1, with two abstentions, to extend Clark’s contract through June 2022 with an option for renewal for an additional two years based on his performance.

At that time, the national alumni association called for the board to issue Clark a one-year contract extension. It also asked trustees to set up a national search committee to find a new president.

Faculty Senate votes no confidence in SCSU president, provost
‘No confidence’ vote questioned; Committee: Decision doesn’t represent voice of SCSU faculty

 

Contact the writer: dgleaton@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5534. Follow "Good News with Gleaton" on Twitter at @DionneTandD

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