Federal Shutdown

SC colleges’ research may be hardest hit by shutdown

ccope@thestate.comOctober 4, 2013 

  • In other news

    S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control will continue WIC. The state agency said Friday it will dip into its own savings and may have to furlough employees to maintain the Women, Infant and Children program through the end of the month. There will be no furloughs unless the federal government does not reimburse South Carolina for the program’s costs, according to a press release.

    Savannah River Site furloughs 1,400. The only employees not furloughed will be those needed to maintain liquid waste facilities in a safe and non-operating mode, according to an email sent to employees. Congressman Joe Wilson, R-S.C., introduced a bill to fund the Department of Energy’s offices of Environmental Management and National Nuclear Security Administration in accordance with prior years.

    Majority of Fort Jackson remains open. Some offices have reduced staffing, which may lead to delays in services, according to a press release. The Exchange and all other Army and Air Force Exchange Services remain open, and the hours are unchanged. The Commissary is closed until further notice.

— South Carolina colleges and universities are starting to feel the effects of the federal government shutdown on research projects.

Even though federal financial aid for college students is still available, support for some research projects has come to a halt.

Clemson University already has had about a half-dozen stop work orders for projects, including a Department of Transportation project and one at the Savannah River National Lab, said Larry Dooley, the school’s interim vice president for research.

“We have to think a little hard because the impact is on the faculty and graduate students and the staff funded to work on those projects,” Dooley said.

The school has been able to shift students and staff to other projects to temporarily be able to continue to pay them, he said.

But that might not last.

“If this goes on for a long time, and we get some additional stop work orders, then our flexibility gets very limited,” he said.

Graduate students and a few professors at the College of Charleston also have had to be flexible since they share facilities with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

“They have essentially been shut out of their labs,” said College of Charleston spokesman Mike Robertson.

‘Going to start getting serious’

Lou Burnett, a biology professor who temporarily doesn’t have a lab or an office, said it is an inconvenience for master’s students who have research projects going.

“A week in the grand scheme of things is not bad, but it’s going to start getting serious for these guys because it’s going to put them behind in their degree program,” Burnett said.

The College of Charleston also relies on grants from the National Science Foundation, but the school already had received the money as a bulk amount, Robertson said.

Grants will be an issue if the shutdown continues for an extended period of time and would be the area most affected at the University of South Carolina, according to spokesman Wes Hickman.

Clemson, meanwhile, submitted about 22 proposals to the National Science Foundation a few days before the shutdown, Dooley said.

“We don’t know if they got properly logged in,” he said.

The Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service