SC State releases names, documents tied to mass firings

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) - South Carolina State University officials released hundreds of pages of documents Thursday that help shed some light on a series of high-profile firings in early February.

On February 10, school president Dr. George Cooper fired eight university workers in a one-day firing frenzy.

According to termination letters sent to each former worker that day, Cooper wrote "grounds for your termination include, among others, conduct unbecoming of a State employee that substantially affects your fitness to perform assigned duties, and that reflects unfavorable on the University, and your substantial failure to follow University rules, policies, and procedures."

Among the firings, Dr. Cooper's chief of staff and university legal counsel Ed Givens and public safety chief Michael Bartley. Intramural sports director Gene Breeland and university finance official Joseph Pearman were also fired.

Also included in the one day terminations, student life and leadership director Lillian Adderson and campus services director Brantley Evans.

Student affairs officials Charles Smith and Lowan Pitt were also let go.

However, the more than 300 pages of documents released do not detail why any of the employees were terminated or what they did to violate university policies. Last week, Dr. George Cooper acknowledged the school had launched an internal investigation after getting reports of "significant allegations."

The investigation is being conducted by former SLED director Reggie Lloyd and Charleston law firm Derfner, Altman and Wilborn. School officials have not released any information about what they are looking to find in the ongoing investigation. February's firings are tied to the probe.

However, the documents released Thursday do include pages and pages of talent contracts, financial agreements and event logistics for last fall's Homecoming concert. The agreements the school brokered with musical acts like Young Jeezy and Charlie Wilson, among others, document thousands of dollars in expenditures for the event. The fired employees' names and/or signatures appear on the documents.

How the paperwork is tied to the mass firings in early February remains to be seen as the university is not commenting on the situation while the internal investigation is still open. No timetable has been given on when it will be complete.