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higher education

  • The State House of Representatives this week voted overwhelmingly to replace and restructure the University of South Carolina’s governing board. The 113 to one vote follows a growing lack of confidence by many lawmakers in the current Board of Trustees. Those trustees are elected by the legislature, but botched presidential searches, million dollar payoffs to fired coaches, and public spats with some of the college’s largest donors led to the action on the bill.
  • A national nonprofit is giving more than $650,000 in grants to help five historically Black colleges and universities to help preserve their campuses. The National Trust for Historic Preservation this week announced the grants through its HBCU Cultural Heritage Stewardship Initiative. The Washington-based trust aims to help the institutions develop campus preservation plans. The grants are going to Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida; Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi; Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina; Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina; and Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina.
  • After an investigation into hazing, a Clemson University fraternity has been suspended for four years for violating the university's code of conduct. The Greenville News reports that a probe into the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity revealed hazing incidents that occurred last February. School officials say the incidents involved acts of personal servitude by new members and included "line-ups, berating, morally degrading behavior."
  • One of the survivors of a racist massacre at an African American church in South Carolina has started giving out scholarships from her foundation to students who want to provide health care to prisoners. Polly Daniels Sheppard set aside money from speaking engagements and other events to create the Polly Sheppard Foundation. Sheppard worked as a nurse for 14 years at the Charleston County jail and says she was bothered that there was always a lack of health workers with compassion for the people they might be helping behind bars. Sheppard was one of five people inside Emanuel AME church to survive in June 2015 when a racist killed nine members of the church.
  • A University of South Carolina donor and graduate has resigned from the school's presidential search committee citing concerns the selection process will be a repeat of 2019's controversial search. The Post and Courier reports Nephron Pharmaceuticals CEO Lou Kennedy believes the search process is headed south. She said Board of Trustees Chairman Dorn Smith told her he believed her appointment to the search panel was "a courtesy." She says that made her think that her input wouldn't be taken seriously. Smith didn't immediately respond to messages for comment. The 2019 search resulted in the hiring of retired West Point Superintendent Bob Caslen and was criticized as highly politicized. Caslen resigned earlier this year.
  • South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster wants to spend the last $17 million of his COVID-19 education relief money to fully pay for anyone to go to a technical college for two years to train to enter high demand jobs. The governor's s senior education advisor and the president of the state's 16 technical colleges spoke to The Associated Press about the plan Tuesday, a day before the announcement. They say if the Legislature pays $124 million of the pandemic relief money it controls, then the program can help up to 15,000 people get training and jobs in areas like health care, manufacturing, IT and construction.
  • 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." Trustees chairman Rodney Jenkins says Conyers has shown formidable leadership skills since taking over in July after former President James Clark was fired.
  • The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a mask mandate instituted by the University of South Carolina last month doesn't violate a state budget proviso. University officials withdrew the rule requiring masks inside campus buildings earlier this month after state Attorney General Alan Wilson opined that the mandate was "likely not consistent with the intent of the Legislature." Wilson cited a budget proviso that the high court has now interpreted to mean public universities and colleges can't enforce a mask mandate that only applies to the unvaccinated.
  • South Carolina State University is delaying fall classes by three days to give students more time to get vaccinated as COVID cases spike across the state. The Orangeburg-based historically black college and university says classes scheduled to start Wednesday for the fall semester will be pushed to next Monday.
  • Free tuition, Apple products and coveted tickets to this year's Carolina vs. Clemson game are among prizes the University of South Carolina is offering to campus members who get vaccinated against COVID-19. Interim University President and trained epidemiologist Harris Pastides announced the weekly prize giveaway Wednesday as part of a "vigorous vaccination campaign."