#Gamecocks4Integrity group speaks out against presidential search process

Published: Jul. 18, 2019 at 12:02 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A group led by some University of South Carolina faculty met on campus today to voice their concerns with the current presidential search process. They’re calling themselves #Gamecocks4Integrity.

“We are concerned that this search has lacked fairness and transparency,” said student Lyric Swinton. “We are concerned this search is being used to serve political interests instead of those of its students, faculty, staff, and alumni.”

Those who are upset with the current search for the university’s new president joined together on the Russell House patio to ask the school’s Board of Trustees to cancel a vote scheduled for this Friday that could potentially make Lt. General Robert Caslen the school’s next president.

Organizers say this event wasn’t about a particular candidate, but rather about the search process.

“If we got a candidate that wasn’t beloved, but it went through the correct process, then faculty students, and staff, and concerned alumni would deal with that in other ways,” said Bethany Bell, a professor, and co-organizer of the event.

Faculty leaders say they’re concerned with Governor Henry McMaster’s involvement in the process after he pushed for the Board of Trustees to make a vote last Friday. That vote was canceled by order of a judge, but with another vote pending at the end of this week, Gamecocks at this event are asking the board to reconsider.

“We oftentimes see politics over people,” said speaker Bakari Sellers. “We oftentimes see politics over institutions that we love. We oftentimes see politics over what’s right.”

The agency that handles USC’s accreditation sent current president Harris Pastides a letter this week regarding concerns about whether the university is following the Principles of Accreditation in the presidential search and hiring process. Speakers at this event say the governor is putting the school’s status in jeopardy.

“Our students are better than this,” said Jennifer Clyburn Reed. “Our faculty and staff deserve better than this our donors deserve than this. South Carolina herself deserves better than this.”

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