USC trustee says Gov. McMaster wants to hold presidential vote Friday

He says the Governor reached out to him and other trustees last week to schedule the vote

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) —At the end of the week, there may be a vote on a new President at the University of South Carolina.

A member of the USC Board of Trustees says that Governor Henry McMaster (R-SC) wants to have a vote on Friday on whether General Robert Caslen will be named as the school’s new leader.

Charles Williams, who has served on the board since 2010, says Gov. McMaster reached out to him and others on the board around the Fourth of July in an effort to schedule the vote. He says politics should not play a role as to who leads the university.  

“We as a board are going to look foolish, we’re going to look weak, we’re going to look like political influence took over the board,” said Williams.

Two months ago, students crowded into the Alumni Center to protest the possible introduction of the former West Point Superintendent as their next leader.

It was then they elected to continue the search and name USC Upstate chancellor Brendan Kelly as their interim president.

Williams says the students call to action is not the reason Caslen is not in charge.

“What resounded with me and other board members were the 82% negative (ratings). 600 pages of comments, and 82% were negative. That’s a controversial candidate. That’s not what we need at this school,” Williams said.

Some students say they are surprised by the timing of a potential vote.

“I personally, what I am informed about so far, I’m not in favor of him kind of forcing that but I hope they make the best decision for the campus,” said Laura Smiley, a rising junior at USC.

As of now, Williams says the board is divided over their potential vote, but he wants to remind them about their responsibility to the university.

“If we let politics win out, we’re all losers. I think the university is greater than that, I think so many people love the university, the 50,000 students we have here love the university, and our job as board members is to find a president that not only loves the university, but also has a vision and can lead this university to greater heights

Gov. McMaster’s office has not responded to ABC Columbia’s request for comment, but one USC spokesman says he can not confirm at this time whether a meeting will be held at the Alumni Center Friday.

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