SC State Faculty Senate wants school president fired

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (WACH, AP) -- Trustees at South Carolina State University met behind closed doors Thursday for nearly five hours after the school's Faculty Senate drafted a letter demanding the removal of the university's president.

Trustees did not talk to reporters after they left the emergency session.

The Faculty Senate released a letter Wednesday saying the university is in a "state of crisis" under the leadership of President George Cooper and his administration. The letter also says the Faculty Senate voted "no confidence" in Cooper and also criticized the school's board of trustees for allowing him to remain in place despite never giving the university president a favorable evaluation.

The group says graduation and retention rates at the school are at all-time lows. Members also say administrators have bullied professors into staying silent about their concerns.

"This administration, and the President in particular, has failed to articulate a compelling vision for the University;adhere to the principles and practice of shared governance;comply with institutional polices and procedures," the Faculty Senate wrote in the letter.

Cooper has faced harsh criticism in the past. The school's board chose not to renew his contract in June 2010, only to re-hire him a week later.

Last month, Cooper fired eight high-ranking administrators. He has refused to give a reason for the firings, only citing an internal investigation into policies and practices without giving any details.

SC State officials released hundreds of pages linked to the firings last week, but the documents offered no explanation for why the employees were fired.

The board of trustees' executive session is set to reconvene Friday morning.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)