COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The University of South Carolina Board of Trustees consists of 17 men and 3 women. The state legislature will soon decide whether to appoint the board's lone African-American trustee, Leah Moody, to a full term. News reports indicate the legislature is likely to replace her with Alton Hyatt, Jr., a former legislator, who is white.
USC's own mission statement begins with the words, "The primary mission of the University of South Carolina is the education of the state's diverse citizens..." Can an all-white board lead the flagship university of a state that is 31% non-white? You be the judge. But South Carolina's history shows us that people of color have had to battle the status quo for a voice in governing the state. To return the USC board to all-white membership would be an outrageous step backward.
Not long ago, this state's public institutions were integrated through a combination of government mandates and wise leadership. It is time once again for wise leadership.
For the sake of gender and racial diversity, I call on the legislature either to reappoint Trustee Leah Moody or find another qualified African-American to take her place. That's my perspective. I invite members of the General Assembly -- and all citizens of this state -- to let me know your thoughts.