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4 SC State Trustees Removed from Board

6:50 PM, May 1, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Four members of the South Carolina State University Board of Trustees have been voted out by lawmakers.

"We are now on our tenth president and the only thing that is consistent is that we change presidents and and not board members," said Orangeburg Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter.

Wednesday, the General Assembly held trustee elections for all publicly-funded colleges. Under South Carolina rules, the House of Representatives holds an election, with representatives casting all the ballots.

The four incumbent candidates up for election--Chairman Walter Tobin, Jackie Epps, Maurice Washington, Linda Edwards-Duncan--all lost.

Edwards-Duncan, who faced no opposition received a majority of no votes from lawmakers. Her seat is now vacant.

Epps will be replaced by Pearl Ascue, while Washington's seat will be filled by William Small.

"We've got a new president, we've got new members elected to the board. I look forward to working with the administration and the new board and building a new future," said Small.

Tobin lost his at-large seat to Katon Dawson, the former party chairman for the South Carolina Republican Party.

"I am a victim of what some other folks have done in terms of bringing shame to the university," said Tobin. " But I think this is the right thing to do, if that's what they're convicted to do then that's the way is should fall out."

Trustee Anthony Grant, who did not face an election, says he go the message from lawmakers loud and clears.

"Get your act together, and there's no longer a toleration for mediocrity, no longer a toleration for dissent.  That we must come together to move this institution forward," said Grant.

The move is the latest in a series of tumultuous events for the school. Back in March, Governor Nikki Haley called a special meeting of the board to discuss what she called "drama" between board members.

Last month, the board selected a new president, Thomas Elzey.

The House has cleared a bill that would remove all current board members by July 1, 2013.  This would not include those elected Wednesday.  That bill is now headed to the senate.

The legislation would also reduce the size of the board from thirteen to eleven, and allow for two at-large appointments to be filled by the governor.  One of those appointments would be with the recommendation of the school's alumni association.

Lawmakers says if the bill dies in the senate they will continue voting out current members with the next election.

"I believe very firmly that a new broom should sweep clean. We have a new president, we have half a new board, and I think it's important for his success that the broom continues to sweep and we get the other half of that board replaced."


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