USC students want more input, transparency in presidential search process

Their reactions come after a scheduled Board of Trustees meeting was cancelled Friday

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) —Throughout the week, some students have been vocal about their opposition to the handling of the USC presidential search process.

Even though the meeting was cancelled since board members did not receive five days notice, some say Governor Henry McMaster acted out of line in pushing for a vote in the first place.

“I thought it was kind of an abuse of power. I understand that the University of South Carolina has a lot of influence on the City of Columbia and South Carolina in general, but there has been strong push back from the student body,” said Amber Domingue, a Ph.D. student at USC.

That push-back stems back to April, when students protested outside the Alumni Center before the board announced they continued their support.

Now with faculty and students coming together to voice their displeasure with General Robert Caslen, students we talked to say they want the Board to not rush into a vote.

“The search should be started again, I understand there are monetary and fiscal concerns in restarting the presidential search, but if they had been responsible in the first place, maybe it wouldn’t have come to this,” Domingue said.

Some students say they want a president that could effectively communicate with the student body, while also picking up where Harris Pastides left off.

“Anyone trying to follow what President Pastides did here is going to have a tough job doing that,” said Richard Brokaw, a junior at USC.

Some just want board members to consider their input and listen to their voices when choosing their next leader.

“I think if we feel the process of picking somebody isn’t exactly right or we think the person isn’t for us, then it does make sense for us to talk about that and decide that that person isn’t the right fit for the college,” said one student.

Governor McMaster’s office and General Robert Caslen did not respond to our request for comment.

The group Next Era UofSC, who organized a protest to take place today before the meeting was cancelled, says that they will continue to be vocal until the Board restarts the process. They also say they want the board to be more transparent and open during the process.

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