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SC State University president fired effective immediately

SC State Board of Trustees voted to terminate James E. Clark from his position as president during a special called meeting.

ORANGEBURG, S.C. — South Carolina State University's Board of Trustees has voted to fire President James E. Clark after five years on the job. 

The board made their decision at a special called meeting Tuesday morning, saying they terminated him for cause under the terms of his contract. They did not specify what that cause might have been. 

The board of trustees took no other business in the executive session, which is not held in public. However, they did vote for Col. Alexander Conyers to replace Clark as acting president until further action by the board is made. 

After the meeting, SC State Board of Trustees Chairman Rodney Jenkins gave a statement about Clark's termination. "The motion of the board was voted to determine to terminate the president because of result to 7.1 of the employment agreement. The board thanks President Clark for his service to South Carolina State University over the last five years in his term, and wishes him much success in his future endeavors," said Jenkins.

News 19 reached out to SC State University for additional comment about the decision, but the school's public information officer said no one was available to comment other than the statement released by Jenkins. 

RELATED: Some SC State University faculty members calling for new leadership

Clark had come under increasing scrutiny in recent months. Back in March, the school's faculty senate gave him a vote of "no confidence" and called for a change in leadership. They outlined 14 issues that had as their reasons, including low enrollment numbers and the plan to return to campus during the coronavirus pandemic.

RELATED: SC State University board holds special meeting to discuss employee matters

Clark responded by saying that the school had made remarkable progress during his tenure, and had moved away from financial challenges and the threat of losing accreditation. 

Clark was hired by the school almost exactly five years ago in July of 2016. He is an MIT graduate and has worked at General Electric, Gillette, Exxon, and AT&T. He also served on Benedict College's Board of Trustees for 18 years. 

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