COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Lt. General Bob Caslen was eager to get to work in his new role as president of the University of South Carolina. He was so eager, in fact, that he began to speak before student body president Luke Rankin could introduce him.
After a few laughs, Caslen again took the stage to officially address the UofSC community.
“I am truly honored and humbled to serve as the 29th president of the University of South Carolina,” Caslen said Monday. “I have to tell you that I do not lightly take the trust and confidence that you placed in me. This is a remarkable university with an amazing community of students and faculty, staff and alumni.”
Caslen made his first remarks to the media and to the UofSC community Monday afternoon at the university’s School of Law. Caslen addressed a number of topics during the press conference including his controversial comments regarding sexual assault.
“Let me be clear about my comments in April,” Caslen said. “I never intended to shift responsibility for sexual assault onto the shoulders of victims. There is never any excuse for sexual abuse. These crimes are committed when one human being decides to violate the human dignity of another and I want to apologize to those who felt I was blaming victims. That was the furthest things from my intended words and I’m truly sorry for those who felt otherwise."
With Dr. Harris Pastides set to retire at the end of July, Caslen said he understands the responsibility he now has in his new role.
“I also know that I have big shoes to fill and that President Pastides is loved dearly by the students here and he’s loved throughout the entire university community,” Caslen said. “I spent some time with President Pastides when I was serving with him on the NCAA Board of Governors and everybody on that board absolutely had the highest respect for him, including myself.”
Caslen said he understands the transition from President Pastides will take some time once he takes office. However, Caslen noted a “visible transfer” of the presidency would likely take place on Aug. 1.