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Letter to University of South Carolina Board on Its Presidential Search

The University of South Carolina board of trustees voted on July 19 to hire retired Army general Robert Caslen as the university's next president. On July 16, the AAUP sent a case letter to the USC board chair, the university's president and faculty senate officers, and the South Carolina conference of the AAUP on the "the issues of academic governance raised by reports in the press that the process of selecting the next president of the University of South Carolina is being unduly influenced by Governor Henry McMaster in order to bring about the selection of General Robert Caslen, a candidate for the presidency whom the board had previously declined to appoint."

To quote the letter:

For the board to change course at this time and appoint General Caslen suggests that the faculty’s participation in the search process was merely for appearance’s sake and calls into question whether the search itself was conducted in good faith. Moreover, recent reports in the press raise the possibility that the board may instead appoint as president a candidate who was not among the four finalists, which would raise even more serious concerns, as such a selection would disregard the faculty’s appropriate role in the process entirely.

Now that the board has pulled the trigger, the above-stated suspicions appear to be confirmed.

Download the full letter here

Publication Date: 
Friday, July 19, 2019