USC mess: My question is, what’s Henry’s motivation?

Wherever possible, folks stood in the shade....

Wherever possible, folks stood in the shade….

I went down to the demonstration, to get my fair share of heat stroke.

I’m talking about this one, over at USC:

Jennifer was ONE of the speakers, along with Steve Benjamin, Bakari Sellers, and students and faculty members I didn’t know. I’m not sure who all ended up speaking, but this was the official roster in advance:

  • Todd Shaw – Associate Professor of Political Science
  • Zechariah Willoughby – Student
  • Christian Anderson – Associate Professor of Education
  • Steve Benjamin – Former UofSC Student Body President & Mayor of Columbia
  • Jennifer Clyburn Reed – Alumna & Center Director, College of Education
  • Elizabeth Regan – Department Chair, Integrated Information Technology
  • Bakari Sellers – Law School Alumnus & Former SC State Representative
  • Lyric Swinton – Student

And all through it, I kept wondering what I’ve been wondering from the start about all this: What’s Henry McMaster’s motivation? Why stir this pot?

The thing is, what he’s done is get a lot of folks who didn’t care one way or the other about this Caslen guy to get all mad because of the ham-handed way he’s gone about it.

What will happen on Friday? What’s happening behind the scenes between now and Friday? Is all this worth it? And if so, to whom?

Some of the speakers, awaiting their turns...

Some of the speakers, awaiting their turns…

24 thoughts on “USC mess: My question is, what’s Henry’s motivation?

  1. Bill

    If you’re gonna get into method acting,I have to post another crappy video.Shoot me;Jethro Bodine explained this stuff best…

  2. Barry

    Especially since He day has never met the candidate he is pushing so hard….

    My question is (and I’ve asked) is why would Robert Caslan accept this job knowing:

    1). If he’s hired, the university community will be even more split that it is now. This is not a good situation.

    2) why would someone with his resume want a job where the strong perception is that he was given the job because a politician forced him upon a state university?

    3) I’ve been associated with several search committees at my church for high profile positions (a large church by South Carolina standards – over 1200 members). In every case that I have been involved in, the candidate we were interested in stated to us that he/she would only accept the job if they received 90% or higher of the vote of the membership of the church. The reason was always the same in that anything less made the job almost impossible, and very unpleasant for all involved.

    4) Is South Carolina his only option? It seems that way. Why would that be the case with someone with a resume as impressive as Mr. Caslan’s ?

  3. David T

    40,000+ students, 1000+ faculty, and 2000+ staff and all they could get to attend this protest rally was 100 people and that number included people like Brad who have no personal tie to the school? What were the other 42,900 university affiliated people doing? We’ll see what the Board of Trustees does, I doubt 0.002% turnout to protest will have much of an impact on voting.

    1. Scout

      On vacation, in my husband’s case. Not healthy enough to stand in the heat, in my father’s case, who is Emeritus faculty. There are reasons.

      You do realize that the University is not currently in session, right? Hence, most students and alot of faculty are not in town.

      1. David T

        Summer semester is in full swing. Full-time staff are there. There may not be 35,000 students on campus, but I bet there are 10,000.

        1. Scout

          I tried to reply to this earlier but I guess it didn’t go through. I stand by my original comment. Summer sessions are a fraction of the operations of the regular academic year, staff is reduced, and some faculty are on 9 month appointments and not present. When the faculty senate met to give their no confidence vote there was some question as to whether they had enough for a quorum, because of the faculty members of the senate who were not in town. Despite this, the meeting was well attended by other faculty and the public, because people do care about this. I put more stock in the faculty senate meeting than the protest at the russell house.

          But I guess it is a moot point now.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            It may be a moot point in a technical sense, as it has no legal bearing upon anything.

            But it’s not politically moot. It’s a serious matter.

            I want to see Caslen succeed. I want to see this work out for everybody, as we all have a huge steak in our flagship university.

            I’m not terribly worried about the students. Oh, there will probably be protests, but I doubt the unrest will represent the great majority of the student body.

            But that unanimous vote by the Faculty Senate worries me.

            I’ve sort of been hoping that, because it was the summer, that doesn’t fully reflect the attitude of faculty. But I fear that hope is in vain: The fact that it was unanimous suggests that the majority, or at the least a large minority, of the faculty has a problem.

            And I don’t see an easy way to get past that. I’ve very much hoping we can, though. The university, and the state of South Carolina, kind of need for that to happen…

            1. David T

              “But that unanimous vote by the Faculty Senate worries me.”

              It doesn’t bother me in the least. Caslen wasn’t “one of them” and they weren’t going to support him period. A room full of ultra-liberal, white male hating people certainly weren’t going to support him especially since he has a military background. The only warrior they’re looking for is a Social Justice Warrior. They weren’t going to be satisfied unless the Board of Trustees presented them with a minority lesbian who had a transgender partner.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                How do you know it was “a room full of ultra-liberal, white male hating people?”

                I don’t even know the names of the members of the faculty senate, much less their political leanings or personal prejudices…

                1. David T

                  Brad you don’t work on campus. The political atmosphere is totally opposite of the rest of the state. Outside staff members you’ll be hard pressed to find a card carrying Republican.

                2. Mark Stewart

                  I think you mean to say the atmosphere on the USC campus is totally the opposite of your own political leanings…

                  I think it’s almost a certainty that a majority of the voters in SC do not share your viewpoints.

              2. Phillip

                Ah, David, but if that minority lesbian was a Lieutenant General in the Army, we One-Thousand-Marxist-Social-Justice-Warriors on the USC faculty would be cool with that. You can’t say we’re TOTALLY close-minded.

                1. David T

                  Phillip, if you had to guess, what would you say the political breakdown of the USC faculty would be from your interactions with them? 90-10 Democrat-Republican, 75-25, 50-50???

                2. Brad Warthen Post author

                  I’d hope that the percentages of Democrats and Republicans combined wouldn’t add up to 100.

                  I’d like to think there are some people on the faculty who THINK when they go into a voting booth…

                  1. Bill

                    WHAT voting booth?!!! Last time,I was completely exposed to the elements,and felt naked and afraid,especially around so many republicans.Lexington county is a frightening place to vote…

                    1. Brad Warthen Post author

                      I miss the old voting machines, with the heavy curtain and the big lever that opened and closed it.

                      Actually, I don’t know whether SC ever had those, but I remember using them in Tennessee during my earliest years of voting.

                      I can remember once being asked by a poll worker, “Are you OK in there?” because I spent SO much time thinking about each vote.

                      I’ve made up my mind right there in the booth quite a few times, starting with my first presidential vote in 1972.

                      I just couldn’t decide between Nixon and McGovern. I thought McGovern would be a terrible president — he was a pretty lousy candidate, and I was sort of ticked at him for dumping Eagleton, if I remember correctly. But while I saw Nixon as a more competent president, I just didn’t trust him because of Watergate. Even that early in the investigation, I had a bad feeling about his role in it.

                      So I voted McGovern, purely as a protest about Watergate, because I was sure Nixon would win anyway.

                      This is why, as mad as I am at them, I can’t in good conscience fully condemn the people who voted for Trump as a protest against Hillary, feeling sure that she would win anyway.

                      Of course, I can condemn them for being so WRONG in their prediction. I knew McGovern didn’t have a chance. In 2016, I saw no reason to be that certain about Trump losing…

                    2. Bill

                      I remember having a booth w/a curtain in 1976 in SC(Jimmy!),and really liked it.That’s what voting is supposed to be like,Not with some sexy congressman staring at you the whole time,and after they bought you a beer and everything;republicans aren’t so bad,just their politics and wives and all…

              3. Scout

                “Caslen wasn’t “one of them” and they weren’t going to support him period.” -David T.

                Or maybe, they asked him questions he couldn’t answer and they formed an opinion accordingly after gathering relevant information.

                The job of University Faculty seems more likely to select for people who have learned to gather and digest relevant information before making judgments on it.

                McMaster (and possibly you) put politics into this, not the faculty.

                1. David T

                  I heard faculty making negative comments about Caslen when the four candidates were announced and before any of the four candidates ever stepped on campus.

                  Read the article in today’s The State newspaper. The politics of all this is coming out and Caslen doesn’t have near the political pull or backing that the faculty are saying he does.


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