USC trustees vote to hire Robert Caslen as next president

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) — After 2 weeks of opposition and even a court order to a proposed vote on the University of South Carolina’s next president, the board of trustees made a decision to elect General Robert Calen as the president of University of South Carolina.

The board met behind closed doors for 2 hours before making the motion to elect the new university president. The meeting is the 2nd one called in two weeks after the first meeting scheduled was stopped with a court order.

“We need more clarity on a clear election a clear board process a clear procedure for selecting the new president to lead us,” said Meaghan Haxton, a staff member at the university.

11 board members voted in favor of electing General Caslen, 8 members voted “No”, and 1 board member voted “Present.”

For some at the Alumni Center the decision was worth celebration. “He was superintendent at West Point. That is a big deal some of our greatest leaders went there so that assignment goes to the top men in the army he did an incredible job there,” said Ray Moore in support of Caslen.

Retired Lt. Col. Ray Moore shows support for General Robert Caslen after USC Board of Trustees votes in favor of Caslen becoming USC’s 29th president.

For others, the vote brought them to tears. After the board voted, students, faculty and alumni waiting outside of the board room erupted in disappointment chanting “Shame. Shame. Shame” on the board of trustees.

“The university means a lot to me it’s the school I thought about my entire life. It’s my home state college. This vote makes me feel like I don’t have a choice but to leave the University of South Carolina,” said Deanna Smith, a USC sophomore.

Students, faculty, and alumni chant “Shame” after board elects General Robert Caslen.

General Robert Caslen will start in his new role September 16 with an annual compensation package of $650k. Caslen will now be the 29th president of the university.

The general served as the superintendent of West Point Academy for several years before moving to Florida where he worked at UCF.

Governor McMaster released the following statement:

“The selection of General Robert Caslen as the next president of the University of South Carolina is a positive and transformative step forward for the future of the university and the state.  I am confident that every student, alumnus, faculty member and citizen of this state will benefit from his superior leadership, vision and direction, which he has demonstrated throughout his remarkable career.”

Gov. Henry McMaster

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