Budget board approves $6 Million loan to SC State University

South Carolina State University

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The Budget and Control Board has approved a $6 million loan to keep South Carolina State University afloat.

House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford called on SC Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom to apologize for comments made regarding SC State University on Wednesday.

Eckstrom was quoted in the Budget and Control Board Meeting saying, "these are kids that are going there (SC State) because they can't get into these other schools." He also commented that we shouldn't call SC State a historically black college because we don't call other schools historically white colleges.

"Richard Eckstrom should immediately apologize to the students and alumni of South Carolina State University for his uninformed, ignorant, and embarrassing statements earlier today. Those comments demonstrated a severe lack of understanding of our only public, historically black college in South Carolina." said Rutherford.

"As a result of his callous remarks, Mr. Eckstrom has insulted the names of prominent SC State alumni such as Congressman Jim Clyburn, General Abraham Turner, Former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Ernest Finney, Judge Matthew Perry, and the first African-American woman elected to the South Carolina legislature Juanita Goggins. It seems as though Republicans can't get through one week without making an offensive comment directed at African-Americans. I also call on the Republican leaders of South Carolina to condemn Mr. Eckstrom's remarks to show that this kind of ignorance has no place in our political discourse."

President Thomas Elzey called Wednesday's 3-1 vote a lifeline that will help the state's only public historically black university continue to tread water. He had requested a nearly $14 million to pay bills that began piling up in October.

The loan allows the university to pay its oldest bills while others continue to go unpaid as school officials seek money from the Legislature.

The resolution directs the university to spend up to $500,000 of the loan on financial consultants. Most of the rest will go to two companies -- the school's food vendor and maintenance contractor.

Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman voted against the plan, saying it does not solve anything.