House budget writers abandoned a plan Wednesday to temporarily shut down South Carolina State University, instead calling for the replacement of the institution’s leadership.

Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, said the decision is a “victory for everyone if we choose to see it.

“The priority is to keep S.C. State open and viable as an institution.”

The House Ways and Means committee tabled the budget proviso that would have closed S.C. State to students for two years while the state paid its bills.

The committee instead unanimously approved a plan that would remove the board of trustees and replace it with an interim board composed of the members of the State Fiscal Accountability Authority – the successor to the former Budget and Control Board – or their designees.

The interim trustees could then remove S.C. State President Thomas Elzey and employ an interim president on an at-will basis. The interim board would remain in place until lawmakers select new trustees.

The plan still needs to pass the full House and Senate.

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