- Associated Press - Friday, July 19, 2019

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The Latest on the University of South Carolina’s search for a new president (all times local):

1:40 p.m.

University of South Carolina trustees have voted to hire a retired Army general as the school’s president despite complaints from students, professors and donors.

The Board of Trustees voted 11-8 to hire Robert Caslen as president and pay him $600,000.

Several dozen protesters outside the boardroom shouted “Shame!” as Friday’s board meeting ended.

Caslen was one of four finalists at the board’s April meeting, but trustees decided to keep searching. Three months later, Trustees called Friday’s meeting and only considered the former West Point superintendent.

Professors said Caslen wasn’t qualified because he didn’t have a doctoral degree. Students say he didn’t know enough about the school. Two of the university’s biggest donors said the search was too political.

Caslen’s supporters say his military experience will help the university move forward.


11:05 a.m.

University of South Carolina trustees have gone behind closed doors to discuss whether to hire retired Army Gen. Robert Caslen as the school’s new president.

The decision to vote on Caslen has divided the campus, coming three months after trustees didn’t vote on any finalists and agreed to restart the search. 

Student government, professors and even the school’s top donor, billionaire businesswoman Darla Moore, have all asked trustees to cancel Friday’s vote.

Before going into closed door session, Board of Trustees Chairman John von Lehe said trustees have heard the concerns but have to do what is best for the university.

He says Caslen, who also was West Point superintendent, has another offer so the school must act now. He didn’t give specifics.

Students silently protested outside the board room.

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