Compromise proposal creates a research university in Charleston - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Compromise proposal creates a research university in Charleston

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

On Wednesday, a proposal to expand the graduate culture in the Charleston region advanced with a unanimous vote of the ad hoc committee tasked with considering the measure. 

The amended proposal authored by Representatives Merrill and Stavrinakis, will create a research university at the existing University of Charleston, South Carolina. 

This proposal protects the structure, brand, and unique identity of the College of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).

The legislation's primary sponsors State Representatives Jim Merrill and Leon Stavrinakis, both of Charleston, issued the following statement regarding today's action: 

"Our goal from the beginning of this process was to bring a much needed research university to the Lowcountry. Presentations to the ad hoc committee from the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, South Carolina Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt, and City of Charleston Mayor Joe Riley clearly confirmed our need for expanded higher education and research opportunities in the region and the state. 

However, we also heard testimony that indicated an outright merger of  the College of Charleston and MUSC would be time consuming and require extensive reform of the two schools. Holding true to our commitment that we would not force a merger upon anyone, we worked closely with all stakeholders to craft a proposal that achieved our ultimate goal while gaining unanimous support so as to move this proposal forward without unnecessary delay.

We are confident that with the full support of the College of Charleston, MUSC, the Mayor's Office, and the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce this compromise proposal is the best path forward. 

The amendment will expand the mission at the existing University of Charleston into research university status and also allow joint efforts between the College of Charleston and MUSC to expand once both schools have their new presidents on the job.

At the same time, the respective names and missions of both the College of Charleston and MUSC are preserved in law by the amendment. All parties agree this outcome will allow the relationship between MUSC and the College of Charleston to grow naturally over time, while allowing for for collaboration to be pursued immediately and for merger discussions to be held in the future if required."

The amended bill will now head to the full Ways and Means Committee for debate.  That meeting is tentatively set for next week.

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