ORANGEBURG, S.C. (SCRN/AP/WVOC) - State lawmakers have removed all four members of the Board of Trustees at South Carolina State University who were up for re-election this year.
Along with two open seats, legislators appointed six new trustees to the embattled 13-member board.
Orangeburg County State Senator John Matthews told the South Carolina Radio Network that a message needed to be sent.
“I think that the trustees were not really listening and had their pulse on how the General Assembly felt about what they were doing,” Matthews says.
“And I think they've totally misjudged us. I think the response today showed them that, from our point of view, that they have damaged the university in the direction they were going.”
SC State has been under a cloud for years, and the board's former chairman was indicted on corruption charges in January.
Among those who were unseated Wednesday was the board's current chairman, Walter Tobin.
“I am a victim of what some other folks have done in terms of bringing shame to the university,” Tobin says. “I have not done that. But I think this is the right thing to do. If that's what they're convicted to do, then I think that's the way it should have fallen out.”
Tobin was replaced by former state Republican Party leader Katon Dawson.
The board voted 6-5 last month to name current vice president of The Citadel Thomas Elzey as SC State's new president.
And legislators have made it clear they only want trustees who will support Elzey.
Meanwhile, a panel has decided the school's new leader could be paid up to $326,000 a year.
The South Carolina Agency Head Salary Commission has approved a salary of $170,000 for Elzey.
He also will be paid $131,000 annually by a South Carolina State foundation when he takes over June 15th.
The salary commission also recommended a housing allowance of $25,000 a year, which must be approved by the state Budget and Control Board.
At The Citadel, Elzey earned $257,000 yearly in state and private money, plus $50,000 annually in deferred compensation.
Former South Carolina State University president George Cooper earned about $250,000 annually.