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Cooper rehired at SC State in tense meeting

Jul 1, 2010 2:20:00 PM - thestate.com

S.C. State University’s Board of Trustees voted to reinstate recently deposed President George Cooper in a heated meeting today that saw a pair of board members stripped of their leadership positions and underscored the school’s many troubles.

Cooper’s reinstallation comes just three days after the board had appointed Greenville Municipal Court Judge Merl F. Code as acting president, and it comes two weeks after board members voted not to renew Cooper’s contract.

“I do not take this vote lightly as we reaffirm our mission as a land grant university and meet our highest goal – the educational needs of our students, who choose to attend S.C. State University,” Cooper said in a statement he read after Thursday’s vote.

Walter Tobin and Martha Scott Smith, two of the five board members who voted against renewing Cooper’s contract last month and opposed his reinstallation on Thursday, were stripped by fellow board members of their leadership positions. Tobin was to assume the chairmanship of the board in September. Smith was to serve as vice chair.