SCSU President James E. Clark.jpg

The South Carolina State University Board of Trustees announced today that it will extend the employment contract of the university's 12th president, James E. Clark. During a special meeting held via teleconference, the board voted to renew Clark's contract through June 2022 with an option for renewal for an additional two years based on the president's performance.

Board members went into a four-hour-long executive session to discuss the personnel matter before emerging to take a public vote. Nine members voted to extend Clark's contract. Two members abstained and one member voted "No." Following the vote, Rodney Jenkins, chairman of the board of trustees, read from a prepared statement.

"This Board of Trustees, the university's governing body, empowered by the general assembly of this state, is tasked with hiring, evaluating and terminating a president, acting in the best interest of the institution. The board makes its decision about leadership based on guidance provided by the State Fiscal Accountability Authority, which sets criteria by which the performance of an agency head in higher education in this state should be evaluated," Jenkins said.

"Over the course of Clark's tenure as president, this board has employed these metrics to assess performance and continuous improvement. As a result of this process, the board of trustees of South Carolina State University has voted to extend President Clark's contract through June 2022 with an option to extend for two additional years based on his performance," Jenkins continued. "We would like to thank President Clark for his service thus far, and we, the members of this board, look forward to working with him to lead this great institution forward to an even higher level of excellence."

Following the public statement, Jenkins said no further statements would be issued by the board. Following the board's announcement, President Clark thanked the board for its vote of confidence.

"I am very proud of the tremendous successes this administration has made thus far; It has certainly been an unheralded turnaround," said Clark. "I look forward to working with this board to continue the job of leading this institution, especially through these unprecedented times, and to take SC State to an even higher level."

Clark arrived at South Carolina's only publicly supported historically black institution in 2015 as a member of a temporary seven-member board named by the general assembly to lead the university, following a stretch of financial woes and declining enrollment. In 2016, the retired AT&T executive was named president and took the helm as the institution's leader.

During his first term as president, SC State experienced three consecutive years of increasing enrollment, and Clark was able to forge critical relationships and engage leaders from public and private sectors who threw their financial support behind the university. Under Clark's watch, the institution rebounded from sanctions imposed by its governing body, SACSCOC, to regain its accreditation, and he captained the stabilization of its financial position.

Details about the terms of Clark's new contract have not yet been made public. Student leaders are positive about continuing their education with Clark as their leader.

"President Clark has made positive and significant changes since he has been president of the university," said Javonni Ayers, president-elect of the university's Student Government Association. "He supports me in my role as SGA president and is an advocate for all students. I am confident the Board of Trustees has made a wise decision that will lead to the betterment of this great institution."

For more information, contact Chaundra Mikell Yudchenko at cmikell1@scsu.edu.

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