Controversial Comments Spur Apology Demands


By Rochelle Dean


Some remarks are creating a firestorm of controversy after some lawmakers say the Comptroller General made "offensive" comments during the state board and control board meeting.

According to those in attendance, Richard Eckstrom said " These are kids who go there because they can't get into others schools" and that "we should not call the University (SC State) A historically black college because we do not call other schools historically white colleges. "

Eckstrom says his remarks were taken out of context - telling ABC Columbia news he was talking about finances when he mentioned students at the schools, and that many of them did not have the capacity to bail the school out their current financial woes.

Orangeburg Representative Gilda Cobb Hunter is one of several people who say they were offended by the remarks and are demanding an apology.

"The way I heard it, there is no other way that it could have been taken other than a racial comment. Maybe that was not his intent but that is certainly how it came across. Out of all of the people in that room, Richard Eckstrom was the only one who did not think it was a racist comment."

Eckstrom says he does not think this is an issue that should be dealt with in the political arena, and feels putting labels on Historically Black Universities causes divide when the goal should be to bring everybody together.

Meanwhile the board did pass a measure to loan SC State University 6 million dollars to help the University stay afloat.
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