Black lawmakers promise SC State will not close at rally

Black lawmakers told a hastily-assembled Statehouse rally to save South Carolina State University that they will make sure the school does not close.

Several hundred people showed up on a cold Monday for the gathering, sponsored by the South Carolina NAACP.

South Carolina State leaders repeated the phrase "Kill the Bill"- they've said it since lawmakers first introduced the budget rule to close the school for a full fiscal year.

SC State graduate the Rev. Joe Darby told the crowd rallying was great, but they need to work to show more support for the university. He says South Carolina's only historically black public college has always got a raw deal from state government.

School leaders also called on students and supporters to pack the Ways and Means Committee as they vote Tuesday, despite the fact those same speakers said they didn't expect the proviso to pass. State senators have said over and over they will not let the proviso, or budget rule, that would shut down the state's only historically black public college to pass.

And at the rally, Rep. Joe Neal, who sits on the Ways and Means Committee, said he will fight the vote tooth and nail.

At the same time, another bill introduced in the State House Monday would remove SCSU's board while placing the school under control of the Budget and Control Board.

The rally touched on the financial situation at South Carolina State, with speakers calling on students and alumni to give back to the school and create an endowment. While the school's funding was brought up, no one spoke about the growing debt SC State is in.

Last week, a House panel passed a proposal to temporarily close SC State for a massive overhaul, then reopen it in 2017.

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