President of college temporarily reinstated after resignation

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013

DENMARK, S.C. (WRDW) -- Denmark Technical College, located 50 miles east of Augusta, is no longer without a leader. The Denmark Tech Area Commission, the government body that appoints and fires the school's president, met Tuesday to temporarily reappoint Dr. Joann Boyd-Scotland as president.

"We are all interested in making Denmark Technical College the college that it is and making sure that it's a place where people can get the education they need," says Kelly Steinhelper, Vice President of Communications for the S.C. Technical College System.

Last week, Boyd-Scotland and two other administrators reportedly resigned. On Friday, in an emergency meeting, the commissioners appointed three of its own members to fill the void until new leadership could be hired.

The state feared this move might threaten the school's Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation.

During Monday's special meeting, with the state in attendance, the decision was reversed by commissioners and the school's attorney.

"Based on the opinion of the legal counsel, the Area Commission's actions on July 29, 2013 did not have any effect of ending Dr. Boyd-Scotland's employment with the College," a release reads.

During the July 29 meeting, minutes say Dr. Boyd-Scotland submitted a letter requesting to return to retirement. The commission voted to accept her letter of resignation. Now, the school's attorney says that vote is null and void.

"Also, the motion made by the Commission at the October 28, 2013 meeting did not pass by the majority vote; therefore it did not change the status quo of Dr. Boyd-Scotland's employment," the release continues.

Meanwhile, the state continues to search for Boyd-Scotland's replacement.

"We are expediting the process of looking for a president for Denmark Technical College and hope to have someone in place by the end of the year," says Steinhelper.

On Tuesday, after the meeting, News 12 returned to campus to inspect and copy the minutes of previous meetings.

South Carolina law states minutes, from the preceding six months, "must be made available for public inspection and copying during the hours of operations of the public body without the requestor being required to make a written request to inspect or copy the records when the requestor appears in person."

On Monday, News 12 was not granted access to do so.

South Carolina Press Association's Jay Bender says this means Denmark Tech violated FOIA, once again.

Earlier this year, News 12 was also turned away at the gate when asking for incident reports. Fourteen days of incident reports must also be made available to members of the public during hours of operations without a written request.

At the gate, News 12 was told that the July 29 meeting minutes were still not approved by council, so they could not be granted. News 12 was told, however, to submit a written request.

Later in the day, the school told News 12 by phone that the July minutes had actually been approved, however, Bender says even if they weren't, in his opinion, they are still public information.

"The minutes exist before approval, and I think the law is clear that citizens are entitled to see the minutes before the minutes are approved," he says.

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