Board of Trustees member caught on hot mic, says protesters are from out of town

Updated: Jul. 19, 2019 at 6:05 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - As the Board of Trustees meeting was set to begin, over 80 people listening to a live stream in a ballroom downstairs gasped.

"I feel lot of people those people that are demonstrating are from out of town,” the voice said over the speakers.” I've heard some of that Kamala Harris crowd is there. They got this thing all tied into the Democratic primary."

The faculty and students in the room were shocked to hear this because they said they were told politics wasn't involved in this process. They feel this is evidence some members of the Board of Trustees considered this to be a partisan issue.

University of South Carolina Political Science Professor Todd Shaw said the idea of protesters coming from other areas to speak against issues they aren't associated with is common right now in national politics.

"This is simply confirming what was happening behind the scenes," Shaw said. "They are not acting as trustees. They are acting as political lieutenants."

Because members of the board were able to call into the meeting, it is unclear who was speaking.

On Friday night, the following statement was sent to WIS from UofSC trustee Egerton Burroughs:

"I am sorry that my friend and colleague Bubba Fennell has been attacked on social media for comments he did not make before the Board of Trustees meeting this morning. I made the comments but had no intention of offending those who care about the university and were present today to share their opinions.”

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