I co-authored this letter along with Senator John Matthews of Orangeburg and sent to the major newspapers in the state last evening.
We do not need to dump on S.C. State University with another investigation right now, particularly not when the new President has come to the General Assembly, six months before the fiscal year end, in a letter to the South Carolina Budget and Control Board outlining the reasons for a projected cash flow shortfall of $4.4 million.
According to President Elzey, the shortfall was “due primarily to declining student enrollment,” but he also listed a number of other contributing factors, including significant debt service, a reduction in federal Plus Loan and Pell Grants for students and the elimination of certain non-recurring sources of revenue.
Furthermore, the President outlined major initiatives underway to address these problems, some of which have already begun to have a positive impact on the school’s financial statements. Most importantly, President Elzey invited South Carolina’s lawmakers to visit him or the university’s Chief Financial Officer to answer any questions.
Additionally, the State Budget Director has asked for a written plan within two weeks for more specifics to deal with the shortfall. This President was elected less than one year ago when the school was swirling with alleged breach of trust and impropriety.
The current board is in transition and will soon be composed of almost all new trustees. I think we as lawmakers must give the new administration and board time to implement the programs they believe necessary to get the school back on the right track. The President’s disclosure should be welcomed and applauded as a big step in the right direction.
Instead of pointing fingers and calling for an investigation, we should remember how vital S.C. State is to South Carolina and that we are all in this together.
Senator John Matthews
District 39 – Berkeley, Calhoun, Colleton, Dorchester & Orangeburg Counties
Senator Marlon Kimpson
District 42 – Charleston & Dorchester Counties