South Carolina

SC senator calls for probe into USC presidential search

Heated remarks from USC board member directed toward presidential search

University of South Carolina board member Charles Williams speaks on July 19, 2019 at a board of trustees meeting where Robert Caslen was approved as president.
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University of South Carolina board member Charles Williams speaks on July 19, 2019 at a board of trustees meeting where Robert Caslen was approved as president.

A South Carolina senator is requesting the state government take a deeper look at the controversial University of South Carolina presidential search.

Sen. Darrell Jackson, D-Richland, formally asked Senate President Harvey Peeler, R-Cherokee, on Wednesday to create a special oversight subcommittee to investigate the controversial search, which ended with former U.S. Military Academy Superintendent Robert Caslen running the state’s flagship school.

“There have been varying news reports — all with different versions of the process used — and some inferring that processes were not appropriately followed by the Board,” Jackson wrote. “Hopefully the review will not only obtain the facts but can be used to improve the process for future searches and to reestablish the confidence of our citizens in the State’s flagship university.”

Both Jackson and Peeler expressed disgust for how the presidential search was handled, with both saying at a Tuesday subcommittee meeting the search was “embarrassing” to South Carolina.

Jackson’s call for an inquiry into the presidential selection process is the latest consequence of the search, which has sparked multiple protests and raised red flags at USC’s accreditation body. Accreditation allows USC to receive federal dollars and grants legitimacy to USC degrees.

This comes amid calls from students, faculty and lawmakers to restructure the board of trustees, impose term limits and grant student and faculty members votes on the board, which the board has resisted.

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