USC’s search for president continues; scheduled vote blocked by court

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COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- The next president of the University of South Carolina is still up in the air and a recently called board meeting to vote on a candidate has caused quite the bit of controversy.

Dozens of people were expected at the USC Alumni Center Friday morning for a special called board of trustees meeting. The meeting was scheduled to vote General Robert Caslen in as the next president of USC. However, after opposition and back and forth the meeting was cancelled and the presidential search placed on hold.

Faculty, lawmakers and students tweeted their concerns after the meeting’s announcement.

β€œIt came out of left field. Most of us who were in April thought the Caslen situation was behind us because the board told us they were going to start the search over with new candidates,” Lyric Swinton.

The confict surrounding the meeting prompted one of the board members to take the matter to court. A Richland County judge granted Charles Williams a temporary restraining order to stop the meeting citing not having a 5-day notification as required by state law.

β€œSo we can ahve time to deliberate what we’re going to do at this board meeting. I want to talk to the stakeholders. I want to talk to alumni faculty I want to find out a little more about this candidate we are supposed to vote on,” explained Williams.

The University of South Carolina will continue to operate under the interim president, Brendan Kelly, the former chancellor at USC Upstate.

But students and faculty say they will continue working to make sure the presidential search includes their voices.

Swinton continued, β€œWe want a president that is student-centric and values the student’s voice values what the students have to say and really operates in the best interest of students and faculty and staff.”

The board of trustees will have another meeting pertaining to the search for the next president.

That meeting is expected to take place before the end of the month.

Charles Williams added that the board originally did not vote for General Caslen because 82% of the comments the board received about the candidate were negative.

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