The chairman of embattled South Carolina State University’s board of trustees has stepped down from his position, as state lawmakers continue debating the future of that board.
Chairman Dr. William Small, Jr., cited health issues, according to school officials, but plans to remain on the board as a member. He is a retired education from the town of Yemassee in Beaufort County. He has served in the chairman’s position since 2013, when he was elected by fellow board members to replace outgoing chairman Walter Tobin.
The SC State board has been targeted by lawmakers and the public for blame over the school’s ongoing financial struggles. South Carolina’s only public historically-black college is facing a $23.5 million deficit by the end of June, according to an audit released last month. Small has unsuccessfully tried to defend the board as legislators advance proposals that would replace it with a new smaller panel.
Vice Chair Gail Joyner-Fleming will serve as interim board chair until a new one is elected. The next chair will be the fourth in the last four years. Tobin was voted out in 2013 by state legislators upset over the school’s direction. His predecessor Jonathan Pinson resigned from the position in 2012 after his indictment on racketeering and corruption charges. He was found guilty on 29 counts last year and is awaiting sentencing.