Governor McMaster and UofSC students react to Bob Caslen’s resignation

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– Bob Caslen is officially the former president of the University of South Carolina, as his resignation went into effect Thursday. A spokesperson for the university says the chairman of the Board of Trustees accepted Caslen’s resignation Wednesday.

The resignation comes after Caslen admitted to taking two paragraphs without attribution from a speech by the Navy SEAL in charge of taking out Osama Bin Laden. In a statement, Caslen said trust is the most important ingredient of effective leadership, and when it is lost, it is nearly impossible to lead.

We spoke with students Thursday afternoon to get their reaction to the news.

Caslen was first appointed as the university’s president in July of 2019. Governor Henry McMaster serves on UofSC’s Board of Trustees, and was instrumental in bringing Caslen to the school. Thursday morning, he weighed in on Caslen’s decision.

At the time of Caslen’s naming as president, it was marred by controversy. When it was first announced, students protested over comments he made at a student forum, claiming he linked sexual assault to binge drinking. At that time, UofSC’s Board of Trustees announced they would restart the search. However, the board re-convened and voted again in favor of Caslen that summer. A move that sparked protests from student and faculty and even a probe into the university’s accreditation over accusations of political influence in the vote.

Flash forward to this past Friday during UofSC’s graduation ceremony at Williams-Brice Stadium. Not only was Caslen accused of plagiarizing portions of his speech, which he later apologized for, but he also mistakenly referred to the university as the “University of California.” A spokesperson says the mix-up was a simple mistake, but it struck a chord with alumni and students who are often drawn into debates over who the “real USC” is, South Carolina or Southern California.

Wednesday night, it was announced that former President Harris Pastides would serve as interim president while the university searches for a replacement. Pastides served as UofSC’s president from 2008-2019. During his tenure, Pastides oversaw unprecedented growth at the university and increased recognition both nationally and around the world.

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