Vote for USC’s next president set for Friday; faculty and students say ‘Not so fast’


COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA)- We are just two days away from the University of South Carolina’s Board of Trustees making an important vote that could choose the university’s next president. But faculty, alumni and students are saying not so fast.

There has been controversy surrounding the search for the next president of UofSC. First it started with major opposition to a meeting that was allegedly called by Governor Henry McMaster last week. Now there are concerns regarding accreditation.

In April, the search for the next president of USC was put on hold to find more candidates.

Dr. David Snyder, a clinical associate professor, explained the discontent with the first search.

“The pool although comprised of experts and academic leaders there were no women in the pool so it wasn’t representative.”

However, after learning that the search was back on except centered around one candidate General Robert Caslen, many people associated with the university reacted.

“A lot of us feel betrayed and we feel worried not about the potential appointment but about the precedence this sets for a governor that really doesn’t have a direct role in these matters,” said Dr. Snyder.

The meeting created opposition from thousands of students, faculty and alumni. And a restraining order was granted stopping the vote. But now there are additional concerns.

Charles Williams is the board member who filed that restraining order. Williams explained the potential consequences of that special called meeting. “The biggest thing is you cannot have political interference in the governance of the school and if that’s not political interference I don’t know what is.”

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges issued a letter to the university citing concerns of outside involvement in the search for president…involvement that is against the principles of accreditation and could cost the university its status.

Snyder continued, “We’ve got students and their financial aid packages. We’ve got millions of dollars in research contracts and those are contracts with people around town so as I say massive amount of potential economic impact here.”

Despite the temporary restraining order stopping the meeting last week, the board of trustees is scheduled to meet Friday morning to continue with this vote.

Losing accreditation could mean several things including students not being able to get financial aid and the university not being able to recruit student athletes.

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