South Carolina State University President George Cooper announced his plans to step down at the end on the month, to hundreds of students, faculty and staff this morning.
The announcement came amid wide spread speculation on the nature of an ongoing, but unspecified, internal investigation; a call from faculty leaders that the board remove Cooper, and the recent firings of eight top-level employees. However, Cooper said he was stepping down March 30 to spend more time with his family and to pursue other interests. “Please note my departure is voluntary,” he said.
Cooper also said he would be paid $268,000 from non-state funds, and that he had entered into a “standard mutual legal release.”
“In the last three months, this university has been challenged by many issues beyond my control,” Cooper said.
Cooper has been president since 2008. The Board of Trustees fired him in May 2010, but rehired him two weeks later, when two new members took seats on the board.