Allegations of micromanagement by the leader of the South Carolina State University board has led an Orangeburg lawmaker to propose a bill to dissolve the board and appoint a new one.
Democratic Rep. Jerry Govan’s bill would fire the current board in July and elect 12 new members six picked by lawmakers from congressional districts and the others picked in a manner chosen by the university’s national alumni association.
Govan, an alumnus of the university, said he is drafting the bill after hearing people say the board tinkers too much in the day-to-day running of the school. He also is considering a request for a legislative audit of the university.
A number of powerful graduates of South Carolina State have been unhappy with the school’s trustees since they fired president Andrew Hugine last month.
Board chairman Maurice Washington said the trustees have not done anything outside the scope of their duties and can’t understand why Govan would file his legislation.
“But it is the authority of the General Assembly to elect trustees to public higher education boards. Whatever the results of this bill, we simply will abide by it,” Washington said. “We won’t have a choice.”
South Carolina State’s board is currently made up of 13 members. The governor gets an appointment and the General Assembly picks the rest six from congressional districts and six at-large.
Govan’s legislation would make picking the board similar to how The Citadel chooses. He said that system seems to work for the military college.
Govan has also filed a bill that would prevent a trustee at a state university from being hired as its president.
Washington said he doesn’t want to be South Carolina State’s president and doesn’t know of any board members who want the job.
“That is not an interest of mine,” Washington said. “I chair the search committee.”
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