Dr. Walter Tobin, Chairman, Board of Trustees Addresses Public Corruption Allegations

Friday, January 11, 2013

Statement

Dr. Walter Tobin, Chairman, Board of Trustees
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Today, SC State University received sobering news concerning the federal indictment of our former Chairman of the Board and the guilty plea of our former Chief of Police.  It should be made clear that these individuals are no longer associated with SC State University.  However, their departure does not relieve the Board of Trustees and Administration of our responsibilities of governance and oversight. 

The University became generally aware of criminal allegations around December 2011.  At that time, then-President Cooper acted promptly to hire specialized outside counsel, Reggie Lloyd, who is a former U.S. Attorney, former judge, and former Chief of the State Law Enforcement Division, to conduct an internal investigation and make sure that the University fully cooperated with the federal investigation.  Mr. Lloyd worked directly with our Internal Auditor to do so.

This internal investigation led to concrete action: Mr. Bartley was terminated in February 2012.  Mr. Pinson resigned from the Board on December 28, 2012. 

As stated today by U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles, “South Carolina State University and its students are the victims of the crimes charged in this Indictment, not the target. This investigation does not target South Carolina State University. Rather, this Indictment focuses on two individuals who are alleged to have used their positions and relationships to prey on the University in an effort to line their pockets at the University’s expense.”

Our internal investigation, however, also revealed problems in day-to-day operations.  With this knowledge, the University has taken corrective action. The University, including through the efforts of our current Administration and our General Counsel, tightened our controls and improved management, including our contracting and procurement processes, bank accounts, and foundation funds.  In addition, we have fully staffed our Internal Auditor’s office. 

There is much more to do, and we will get it right.  As Chair of the Board, I will support an initiative that will include the designation of a Chief Audit, Compliance and Ethics Officer at SC State.  The Compliance Officer will take the lead in implementing institution-wide compliance and enforcement.

The students of SC State give their best and deserve our best efforts in governance.  Our commitment going forward is to provide a culture of high integrity, accountability and transparency.  The students as well as the alumni, faculty, staff, General Assembly, and our many other SC State stakeholders deserve and expect us to provide excellence in governance.  The Board of Trustees and Administration of SC State pledge a renewed commitment to this charge.