USC students voice their concerns about potential Caslen presidency

USC students voice their concerns about potential Caslen presidency

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - This evening, some USC students made sure their questions and concerns were heard when it comes to the upcoming vote on the school’s next president.

At a forum tonight, those students met after the school's Board of Trustees announced it will meet Friday to vote on whether Robert Caslen should take over as the school's leader at the request of Governor Henry McMaster.

Some students are voicing concerns that Caslen does not meet the qualifications.

They point out he does not have the required doctorate degree. Caslen has been quoted saying, "Being in the U.S. Army 43 years, I like to say I have a Ph.D. in leadership." He holds two master's degrees.

This forum was held by USC’s Student Government as a way to compile and share student concerns with the board of trustees before they vote at the end of the week.

Nearly all of the students who spoke say they’re concerned with the governor’s involvement, and that they don’t believe Robert Caslen is right for the school.

“Absolutely not. Not today, not tomorrow, and never,” one student said while speaking out against Caslen’s potential position as the future USC president.

Some students from the University of South Carolina are riled up about an upcoming vote that will decide whether Lt. General Robert Caslen could be the school’s next president.

“As a southern woman at a southern school, you would never walk up in anybody’s house without an invitation,” said student Michaela Mabry. “This is my home. All of us consider this our home. And this man is trying to walk up in our home without an invitation.”

In the spring, Caslen was listed as one of four finalists up for the position, before the board of trustees decided to continue their search.

A member from the board says Governor Henry McMaster asked them to make a decision regarding Caslen, prompting the vote scheduled for this Friday.

“To try to sneak him in when we’re all on summer break,” one student said. Faculty and staff are on vacation, and students are at home…it’s not the way to do it.”

Some students have voiced concern Caslen doesn’t meet the basic requirements to fill the presidency because he doesn’t have a doctorate degree. The one student who spoke in favor of him at the forum says, that may be true, but his resume speaks for itself.

“Instead of choosing to pursue a Ph.D., he went in served in our military for a number of years,” said student Robert D. Cathcart, III. “Then he worked at West Point as their superintendent and led them to some great successes. He’s had the institutional experience, and he’s had more than just teaching jobs. He’s had actual leadership experience.”

Other students say, they can respect Caslen and the work he’s done…they just don’t think he’s right for Gamecock Country.

“To me, he’s not the right person,” Mabry said. “I can’t see him geehawin’ at the LGBTQIA fest. I can’t see him getting down at the multicultural thing on Wednesdays. You know Pastides, our boy, could get down. I just can’t see this old boy doing it.”

Several students and faculty who spoke at the event say that despite differing opinions, they were thankful this could all be handled in a respectful way where anyone could share his or her thoughts.

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