Charleston, SC - Former U.S. Representative and Democratic candidate for Governor Joe Cunningham released the following statement in response to the news that UofSC President General Bob Caslen’s resignation was rejected by the Board of Trustees:
"Over the past several days, I have watched in disappointment and amazement at the actions, and inactions, of the leadership of our state’s flagship university, the University of South Carolina.
First and foremost, General Caslen’s decision to resign was appropriate and the board should have accepted it. By rejecting his resignation, the Board of Trustees has set a double standard for the President and its students. There exists, and it is enforced on students, a code of honor at UofSC. Plagiarism is a serious violation which has seen students suspended and/or expelled. To hold the employed face of this cherished institution to a different, lesser standard is a slap in the face to anyone who holds a degree from Carolina. The Board should be ashamed by its inaction on holding President Caslen accountable.
The Board’s blindness to President Caslen’s misconduct and political loyalty to Governor McMaster demonstrates the need for serious reform to our state’s higher education system.
South Carolina should transition away from Boards of Trustees and instead move toward more independent oversight and accountability through a Board of Regents system like our neighboring states have successfully implemented for decades.
Higher education in South Carolina costs more for our students than any other state in the South because it contains duplicate programs across the spectrum and each public university must act at the political whims of the Legislature. Therefore, I propose this change to our state’s higher education system, and hope that more affordable and more prestigious degrees can be conferred on our graduates as a result. #ForeverToThee."