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South Carolina State University is adding new phones and new computers.

Trustee Ronald Friday gave trustees an update from the sponsored research and information technology committee last month.

He stated that phones would be arriving at the university on May 1. This represents the first phase of the installation of more than 200 new phones on the south end of campus, with the remainder of the campus receiving new phones in phases through June.

Friday also reported that 550 new computers would be on campus by next year. A combination of Title III and a major gift are funding computers to be placed in computer labs and at other student access points in increments, with some computers having already been installed.

The trustee also reported that the university has interviewed candidates for a new chief information officer position and informed the board on information technology advisory governance, or ITAG.

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An ITAG group will be designed to prioritize IT tasks and include the university’s chief information officer, chief financial officer, provost and acting athletic director.

In the area of technology, Friday also noted that the university has received proposals from vendors for the creation of a ticketless entry system for football games. The job will be done in phases.

Academic affairs

The board approved the prospective spring 2023 graduates. There are approximately 202 students who will be graduating at a ceremony scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, May 12, at the Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center. S.C. State President Alexander Conyers will serve as the speaker.

The board also approved the university’s posthumous degree policy, with trustee Dr. Macie P. Smith abstaining from the vote.

Keisha Campbell, acting athletics director, said the university is continuing work to be fully compliant with federal Title IX requirements.

She discussed improvements in the area of softball, noting “We’ve ordered a double batting cage and also we’ve replaced roofs on the dugouts, and then also we ordered a 130-square-foot tarp for the softball field to protect the infield when it rains.”

Other improvements include acquiring equipment to outfit high jump and pole vault pits, and “we’re also continuing to address other programs’ needs in priority order,” Campbell said.

“There is definitely a huge need to address the deficits that our female students as a whole face because Title IX is just not for your athletics program, it’s for your university as a whole. So we have to try to find more opportunities for female student participation,” she said.

The university is looking to increase scholarship allotments for female student-athletes, Campbell said. Also, “We are really trying to ensure that we address Title IX in a manner that is fitting for South Carolina State as far as our female student population versus our male student population. Right now we’re a little upside down, but we are making some strides to close the gap.”

She said the university had two senior student-athletes who will be graduating during the May 12 spring commencement who have maintained a perfect GPA of 4.0 during each of their four years at the university.

They are Selim Ben Ali of Sousse, Tunisia, a member of the tennis team, and Miranda Gonzales of San Jose, California, a member of the softball team.

In other athletics matters, the board approved the contracts for Timothy Eatman, head women’s basketball coach, and Erik Martin, head men’s basketball coach.

Eatman, whose contract will expire on June 30, 2027, will be paid an annual base salary of $165,000. He will be entitled to participate in state benefits programs which are available to all unclassified university personnel such as annual leave, sick leave, insurance programs, deferred compensation programs and the state retirement program.

Martin, whose contract will expire on June 30, 2027, will be paid an annual base salary of $200,000. He will also be entitled to participate in state benefits programs which are available to all unclassified university personnel.

Institutional advancement, 1890

Sonja Bennett-Bellamy, S.C. State vice president for institutional advancement and external affairs, reported the university has seen an increase in giving.

The university’s private giving is up by 9.7% at a total of $2,887,718.

Dr. Louis Whitesides, executive director of the 1890 Research and Extension Program, gave a 2023 overview of the program’s highlights.

He noted the program had $27.9 million in pending grants as of Feb. 28. IT had $1.1 million in approved grant funding as of spring 2023.

Outgoing board members

Outgoing trustees Donnie Shell and Dr. Doris Helms were thanked for their service to the university and presented tokens of appreciation for their service.

They were appointed in 2015 to serve on a temporary board tasked with restoring the university’s fiscal health. They later remained with the newly constituted board that began serving July 1, 2018.

“We wish you both well on your next chapter and thanks so very much,” Conyers said.

Contact the writer: dgleaton@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5534. Follow “Good News with Gleaton” on Twitter at @DionneTandD

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