Nikki Haley Visits SC State College As a result of Low Enrollment, Faculty President’s Criticism | Palmetto Coverage
ORANGEBURG – Regardless of declining enrollment and criticism of the varsity administration from college and alumni, Nikki Haley says she nonetheless believes it is an ideal day at South Carolina State College.
The previous governor of South Carolina and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations visited the college campus on April 12 and supplied further help to besieged President James Clark, saying she believed he was the correct man to guide.
“I’d like to see what 5 extra years of President Clark would do as a result of I believe it will be magic,” mentioned Haley, a Republican who is anticipated to run for president in 2024.
Whereas SC State has all the time been one of many largest and most well-known of Palmetto State’s eight traditionally black schools and universities, the varsity has been mired in controversy for years.
Clark, a former AT&T govt, took over the presidency in July 2016, because the college was susceptible to shedding accreditation attributable to monetary issues and declining enrollment. That horrible threat has since vanished, however one other heavy blow to enlistment throughout the coronavirus pandemic has plunged Clark into sizzling water.
Haley’s go to got here weeks after among the faculty’s college voted they now not trusted Clark and the varsity’s provost, Luke Learie, citing a low enrollment charge, monetary irresponsibility and a failure to arrange the campus to securely return to in-person studying amid the pandemic.
In a letter to highschool directors, college members wrote that Clark and Learie “failed school, misplaced their credibility, and had been discovered to be unfit for workplace due to their actions.”
The professors’ complaints had been adopted by comparable frustrations from the alumni affiliation, which issued a vote of no confidence in Might.
“The elders evaluated our circumstances and agreed that we can not establish any measurable or constructive outcomes of President Clark’s efforts throughout his tenure,” affiliation president John Humorous mentioned on the time. “Additional, we don’t imagine it’s in President Clark’s potential to provide the outcomes obligatory to maneuver us ahead.”
However Clark attributed the criticism to particular person disagreements together with his method, saying complaints and censure votes from professors and alumni are typical at different universities throughout the nation.
“Frankly, a variety of presidents have advised me that if you do not get one, it means you are not pushing for change, you are not disruptive sufficient,” Clark mentioned. “Sure, I am a non-traditional president. I do issues somewhat otherwise. I’ve a long-term focus. I deal with the lengthy ball recreation. That does not fulfill everybody, and that’s. regular.”
Quite the opposite, Clark mentioned he will get calls from different academics and alumni who’re “very joyful and say, ‘Please keep the course since you are precisely what we want.’ . “
An nameless college member disagreed with the letter that criticized Clark, writing one other that mentioned the vote of no confidence didn’t mirror the emotions of the college at massive.
Haley beneficial some modifications. First, she inspired the Legislature to hunt out-of-state members for the college’s board of trustees, a transfer she mentioned “would make an enormous distinction.”
“Out-of-state board members deliver expertise, they bring about cash, they bring about sources,” Haley mentioned. “All the pieces would change for the state of South Carolina if they might have out-of-state board members.”
Second, Haley urged the board to keep up consistency by sticking to Clark’s strategic imaginative and prescient fairly than swinging between new instructions each few years.
“Simply let it play,” Haley mentioned. “You went via a horrible time in 2015, you stood up on it, now you have hit COVID. Do not cease now. The board has a horrible historical past of continually doing these no-confidence votes, and all that stuff. is that you just lose the consistency that the neighboring faculty continues to have and thrive. “
The “neighboring faculty” is Claflin College, a personal HBCU that has continued to succeed with rising enrollment and better rankings as SC State struggled.
The tour marked a uncommon public look for Haley in South Carolina since leaving President Donald Trump’s administration in late 2018. Whereas she appeared often at fundraisers or different political occasions, The SC State tour adopted extra intently the kind of shutdown it might have scheduled whereas Governor.
Haley mentioned the go to got here after calling Clark to test on how faculty was going, and he invited her to return see him for herself.
“I believe folks neglect that if you’re governor you place your coronary heart and soul into sure issues,” Haley mentioned. “Even after I was on the UN, I all the time stored a watch on South Carolina. And there are some stuff you simply wish to ensure it goes over your time and that it really works effectively.”
Haley additionally cited some private connections to the college for her curiosity. The Bamberg native mentioned she took tennis classes there when she was rising up – she graduated from a close-by personal highschool – and famous that her father taught for many years at one other HBCU, Voorhees Faculty in Denmark.
Consequently, Haley mentioned she understands the “particular” position the HBCUs play and the significance of the SC State to the Orangeburg group.
After stopping by the varsity’s cybersecurity and nuclear analysis services and studying about its plans to broaden agricultural packages, Haley mentioned mother and father in South Carolina may very well be proud to ship their youngsters in school.
“I hope they cease pondering of this as an Orangeburg or South Carolina faculty and notice that it is a nationwide faculty simply ready to launch its outcomes. “mentioned Haley.
Clark hopes that Haley’s thumbs up will assist persuade his former colleagues on the Statehouse to lend their help.
He not too long ago requested about $ 12 million from the state funds – an quantity he says can be invaluable in boosting retention and attracting new college students because the campus plans to renew in-person studying within the fall. .