Many in the state of South Carolina may be worried about the gas shortage, but the University of South Carolina college students had more on their mind. Granted they can walk to most of their classes and need little fuel - they had something much bigger on their minds - like a new leader. Just days after the former President of the University of South Carolina resigned on Wednesday, days after he delivered a commencement address marred by allegations of plagiarism. He also misidentified the University of South Carolina school itself.
Bob Caslen's resignation was announced by the Chairman of the Board of the University of South Carolina. Yes, the same one that appointed him. He was officially thanked for his service in a news release from them. They also announced that they accepted his resignation.
The students are ecstatic. Take a look at a much shared social media post on the Instagram account @BarstoolGamecocks below. Their caption - “Not the hero we deserve, but the hero we need right now.” Welcome back home, Mr. President. #CocksBy90.”
You then see a photo Harris Pastides, Caslen's immediate predecessor who led the system for 11 years looking very fashionable with his lovely wife in the appropriately themed fashion - Gamecock Garnet. His role will be on an interim basis only. The board will continue a search for the permanent replacement.
Just last week the board did not accept Caslen's verbal resignation. He acknowledged that two paragraphs from the speech was delivered without attribution from a speech by Adm. William McRaven, the Navy SEAL in charge of the mission to take out terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.
Yes sometimes there are oversights for everything, but the students were more upset by the next error in his address to students. One that hits hard with them many times when telling people about their current school or alma mater.
Caslen referred to the school as the “University of California” during his address.
Per his public apology he stated, “I am sorry to those I have let down. I understand the responsibilities and higher standards of senior level leadership. When those are not met, trust is lost. And when trust is lost, one is unable to lead.”
Caslen became the President of the University of South Carolina in 2019. His appointment was met with a ton of criticism from many groups like Student and faculty leaders. Although he was a retired general and U.S. Military Academy superintendent, they still argued he lacked qualifications needed to be the President of the University of South Carolina. He did not have a doctoral degree or any university research experience. He also knew very little about the school. Then the faculty Senate unanimously approved a no confidence vote.
Caslen did have 43 years in the military and five years as a superintendent at West Point. Governor Henry McMaster and others republicans lawmakers thought he was best to get the college needed federal funds. McMaster was definitely one of his biggest supporters.
The donors including the University of South Carolina’s largest donor - Darla Moore felt appointment would cause the office to be a political influence. This could threaten the University of South Carolina’s extremely important accreditation. Caslen also recently failed to reach out to the school’s main donor after her mother passed. Moore went to the press after she did not hear from the school during her grief. Even though Moore has donated in excess of $75 million to the school, no one associated with the school’s official office reached out to her. She assumed it had to do with the fact that she had asked trustees in 2019 to restart their search for a new president rather than hire Caslen.
The search continues now even in 2021 for a new official President of the University of South Carolina (not the other USC)!