South Carolina State President George Cooper announced he will step aside Friday morning during a press conference outside of Lowman Hall on campus.
His resignation is effective March 30. Cooper said the decision is voluntary but comes after several hectic months. Faculty members have expressed concern over financial management as well as unethical and criminal allegations.
In a letter submitted Wednesday, the Faculty Senate called for Coopers resignation. That lead to a six hour closed door Executive Session Thursday. In February, Cooper fired eight employees in one day; citing a failure to follow university procedures. Last week, the school released hundreds of pages of documents linked to the terminations. But they offered no explanation for the firings.
Students like freshman Darius Goodman say they are very disappointed by the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the school.
"I would not expect something like this my freshman year. And with everything that is going on, I'm starting to doubt the campus now. It just did not seem to add up as time went on."
Trustee members apologized to students, faculty, and alumni. Board of Trustee Secretary Robert Nance said they plan to straighten things out.
"We as a board pledge to continue aggressively reviewing all of the universities operations; from the Board of Trustees to the Foundations to the administration to the individual academic departments."
University Attorney Reggie Lloyd said authorities are investigating the criminal, ethical, and mismanagement issues. He said more personnel changes are possible. Cooper will receive a $268,000 severance package from the school.
The board will begin looking for both interim and permanent presidents immediately.