Rep. Gilliard seeks $13.3 million for SC State

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (WCIV) -- State Rep. Wendell Gilliard is turning to his colleagues in the State House to help prop up the cash-strapped South Carolina State University.

In a letter to House Speaker Bobby Harrell and President Pro Tem Hugh Leatherman, Gilliard says helping the university keep its doors open is best done by fully funding the $13.3 million request made in January.

That money would cover the university's cash deficit as of June 30, he said, allowing it to "begin the 2014-15 fiscal year with the resources necessary for SCSU to continue to play its historic role as a key historic black educational institution."

Gilliard says in the letter that the school's new president and the board of trustees are working to right the ship.

"I believe that [this] course of action is the best way forward to resolve SCSU's financial services," Gilliard said.

South Carolina State recently asked the state for a $6 million loan from the state.

At the same time however, President Thomas Elzey has been given a $50,000 bonus that is in his contract if he gets a satisfactory evaluation.

The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg reported Monday that university trustees voted 8-1 last month on a satisfactory evaluation for Elzey is his first year. The bonus comes from the school's foundation.

Trustee Tony Grant cast the only vote against the evaluation, pointing out the school's financial struggles. Trustee Bob Waldrep, whose term ended in June, voted for the evaluation and said the bonus never entered his mind.

Elzey makes about $300,000 a year in salary. He has vowed to do whatever it takes to straighten out the university's finances.