Board of Trustee names new President despite protests

Updated: Aug 24, 2019

On Friday, July 19, 2019, the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees came together to vote on a new President for the University following the retirement of Harris Pastides. The board came together in April to vote, but postponed the vote due to protest by students, faculty, and donors. They instead voted to make USC Upstate's Chancellor Brendan Kelly the interim president for one year.


The new vote comes after pressure from South Carolina Governor, Henry McMaster, to make Lt. General Robert L. Caslen president of the University, despite Caslen not having a Doctoral Degree or experience running a research university. Many have spoken out about the issue including, Billionaire Donor, Darla Moore, asking the Trustees to postpone the vote and restart the search for a presidential candidate. Like April's meeting, protestors stood outside the room where the vote took place. Upon the announcement that Caslen had been named President, protestors chanted "Shame."


A statement issued by interim Chancellor, Meredith Brunen, states that Chancellor Kelly, "looks forward to rejoining our campus community in short course as the incoming president begins his new role."


Despite this, many have questions about Caslen's qualifications to be President of the University of South Carolina. The question of losing our accreditation has been posed in awake of the vote. In his acceptance of the role on twitter, Caslen tweeted:


"I will work tirelessly to listen to all of our students, faculty, staff, Board members, and all our constituents to understand their concerns and issues, and I will actively seek their advice."


Still, many questions remain, such as how this will affect students here at USC Upstate. Do you feel that the board rushed into a decision? Do you think Caslen will be a good president for the university? Tweet us or leave a comment below telling us your thoughts on the vote.

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