Conyers Moves from Acting to Interim President at SC State
South Carolina State University has decided to keep its acting president as its temporary leader as a search continues for a permanent replacement.
University trustees voted 12-1 on Wednesday to change Alexander Conyers' title from "acting president" to "interim president," The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg reported.
Conyers "came in hitting the ground running and has shown himself as a formidable leader," said Rodney Jenkins, the chairman of the university's trustees.
Trustees fired James Clark as president in July. They didn't give a reason, but faculty and others have complained about enrollment to the historically Black university declining 43% from 2011 to 2019.
Conyers told trustees at the meeting that South Carolina State University has 2,425 students for the fall semester and had the largest freshman class since 2016, when Clark was hired.
The interim president credited a decision to forgive almost $10 million in student debt which helped get 322 students to reenroll.
"That's $3.2 million in paying customers again," Conyers said.
Conyers said the university plans to ask state lawmakers to spend $110 million of federal COVID-19 relief money on the school.
The request includes $30 million for an athletics wellness center, $20 million for a new student center, $20 million for a new residence hall, $5 million for roof replacements, $6 million for a new College of Agriculture building and money for the renovation of Truth Hall, where first-year female students live.
"If we can get some of it funded through this $2 billion that they're appropriating, it will be a huge lift for South Carolina State," Conyers said.