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In a letter to S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster, Concerned South Carolina State University Alumni expressed displeasure over state support to the university and petitioned for increased funding and changes in provisions regulating trustee eligibility and other statutes. As the only state-assisted Historically Assisted Black College and University, its role in higher education is still relevant today when its mission is fulfilled, as it was when the schools were racially segregated.

Recommended policy changes, trustee eligibility and curriculum flexibility received wide support from the public and are similar to those complaints brought by the HBCUs (Morgan State University, Coppin State University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Bowie State University) against the State of Maryland. The court decision was in favor of the HBCUs ordering the state “… to establish a set of unique and high-demand programs at those universities.” Concomitantly, the state set aside $100 million for those universities.

The debate on higher education is about maintaining American dominance in general technologies supporting business and public welfare. This is certainly personified in Virginia, where a grassroots effort is mounted to make the case for increased state investments in colleges. South Carolina’s Task Force Plan addresses making its higher education program minimally comparable to academics and training at other top universities in the nation. The State’s Executive Order directs the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education and its commissioners to collaborate with the task force in examining and identifying ways to improve the state’s system of higher education.

Having grown up in rural South Carolina and educated at the South Carolina’s only state-supported HBCU, South Carolina State University, the contributions that university can make have to be, or should be, subsidized through state-supported funding ample for achieving goals set by SCSU leadership. The university is an agency of the state as proclaimed by former S.C. State Board Chairman Charles Way and should get the administrative support other state agencies get.

We, Concerned SCSU Alumni, have urged the leaders at South Carolina State University to make academics student-intensive, supported by a strong institutional development program. This commitment is exemplified in a prospectus submitted to then-Chairman Way. This university should be offered similar relief and the government support for the academic programs crucial to its role in implementing the Task Force Plan.

Porter Bankhead of Washington, D.C., is an 1963 graduate of South Carolina State.


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