Well, they hired Caslen today, and I’m kind of surprised…

I’m surprised that the trustees went ahead and hired Gen. Caslen today. Some of you will protest that it was obvious that they would, and yes, in a conventional political strategy sense, you don’t precipitate something like this unless you’re sure you’ve got the votes.

You’re right. That’s conventional wisdom, on one level. But I didn’t think they would do it, at least not today, for two reasons:

  • I can’t think of the last time I saw the USC Board of Trustees step out and do something this risky, this controversial. Especially after they backed down so quickly before in response to protests, even though this was the guy they wanted — kind of absurdly quickly, it seemed at the time. It was like, We don’t want ANY trouble… That convinced me that they were super risk-averse on this. Yeah, I know that among the more emotional protesters there’s a belief that “The Man” always does mean, oppressive, insensitive stuff (which is the way they interpret this), but no — not this “Man.” Not normally. Not in my experience.
  • The Faculty Senate vote the other day. Everything else, I could see them brushing aside if this was really what they wanted to do — the student protests, even Darla Moore’s objections. And if it had just been a mild or even moderate expression of concern from the faculty, that too seemed surmountable. But a unanimous vote of no confidence in Caslen? Wow. I thought that was kind of extreme — like really, not ONE member of the body thought he might be OK? But it was unanimous, and now this guy’s starting a job with the entire faculty against him (assuming, of course, that the senate is truly representative). That would give me pause no matter how much I wanted to hire somebody.

But they did it, and I’m surprised. And at the same time, kind of… impressed… after the way they rolled so easily the first time.Caslen mug

What stiffened their spines?

To be clear, I’ve never had a problem with Caslen. I thought the excuse students gave for objecting to him originally was silly, and from what I could tell he was at least as qualified as the other finalists, and probably more so.

And my old boss James likes him, and I trust James’ instincts on this. Molly Spearman was impressed with him, too. And those are two thoughtful, reasonable people. And I tend to give more weight to reasonable people saying reasonable things despite an emotionally fraught situation than I do to a crowd shouting “Shame!” repeatedly.

But I’m still kind of bewildered at what just happened. I’m still mystified at what caused Henry to take the sudden, unprecedented step he took last week. And I’m puzzled that the trustees went along with him.

Maybe they’ve all been saying to each other in private for the last couple of months that they wished they hadn’t given up so easily before. Maybe they’ve been steeling themselves to do this for some time.

But I’m still surprised.

Well, he’s going to be president of our flagship university now, and I wish him all the luck in the world. He’s gonna need it. That, and some stupendous leadership skills….

57 thoughts on “Well, they hired Caslen today, and I’m kind of surprised…

  1. bud

    Students and faculty took issue with his involvement in the Iraq War, his support for the Contras in Nicaragua, his lack of a record on environmental sustainability and his lack of a doctorate degree. His supporters said they admire his 43 years in the Army and the high rankings West Point received during his tenure.
    – From The State

    I haven’t really been following this too closely but yeh, he’s pretty awful. Couldn’t find an acceptable candidate with a doctorate? Seems like that should be a minimum requirement to be a university president.

    1. Barry

      Hey, the contras were “our kind”of domestic terrorists. That’s why Oliver was facilitating illegal arms sales.

      After all, it’s only wrong if it’s the other guy doing it. That’s the American way.

      I don’t care about Caslan. I’m more concerned that so many right wingers on Facebook think he’s going to bring some conservative renaissance to USC- as if a university president is dictating classroom lessons and banning liberals from campus. I know some would like him to do that, but that’s fantasy.

      And yes, my son will be there this fall. But he thinks conservatives are totally nuts already. I tell him to keep an open mind but I can’t really argue with him. Of course plenty of liberals are nuts too.

      1. Richard2

        I heard on campus today that Caslen is going to ban transgender students from campus. This is the stupidity that’s going around campus since Friday.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      Since you bring it up, maybe you can explain why “his involvement in the Iraq War” disqualifies him.

      I’ve seen references to that before, and I don’t understand what is meant by it.

      I know you think W. is the worst president ever on the basis of Iraq, but I didn’t know that extended to people who served there in uniform.

      Does that apply to Vietnam, too? In other words, did it disqualify John Kerry? And does W. get credit for NOT going to Vietnam, staying stateside with the Air National Guard?

      Walk me through how this works, because I’m pretty confused…

      1. Phillip

        I gotta say I heard no reference to anything about Iraq, the Contras, or anything like that in the Senate meeting earlier this month. No political issues at all, zero, purely the question of the way the April decision was overridden, the process, and whether this particular candidate (whatever his strengths in other circumstances) was really a good fit for this university.

        1. David T

          I just wonder if they had called a vote for any of the other three candidates if there would be the same level of uproar by the faculty? I suspect that the other candidates being academics like the members of the faculty senate that it would have been the exact opposite of what we saw.

  2. Bill

    Too bad Trump didn’t get him as National Security Adviser in 2017…

    The previous two university presidents were selected by unanimous vote.
    But,I get it.You’re a sucker for a man in uniform…

  3. Barry

    Curtis Loftis is prompting Caslan as the way to get liberals out of USC and get it back to the good ole conservative public university it should be.

  4. Barry

    Oh, btw- I guess it’s ok again for politicians to pick university presidents by themselves. I guess that applies to football coaches too. Now we can save money and fire the athletic director and let the governor do the job.

  5. Rose

    The key issue for many faculty and students – and for several trustees – was that the board had made a decision in April to reopen the search. The search committee had followed the by-laws in presenting the finalist to the full board, and the board made a decision. One that McMaster apparently didn’t like. The search committee hadn’t met again since that decision, but suddenly there was a meeting happening to vote on ONE candidate. Not the slate of candidates, just ONE. That is not in the by-laws. Plus no one would have known about the meeting if trustee Williams hadn’t gone public about it. There was an email from Chair von Lehe to the BOT members about the meeting and telling them to keep it confidential. It was included as evidence in the court order stopping the meeting. They broke state law in keeping the planned meeting confidential and not providing 5 days public notice.

    Trustee Hubbard’s opposition to the vote yesterday was based on the violation the established process. He actually read the by-laws to the entire board. He voted “present” because he believed it was not a legitimate meeting. A couple of other trustees stated they had supported Caslen, but were voting “no” because of the governor’s interference in the process.

    I don’t think Caslen is qualified. West Point is a fine military school, and as someone with several veterans in my family, I respect and appreciate his service to this country. But West Point isn’t a research university and it doesn’t have faculty tenure or a faculty senate that is independent of the president. As president, he will be making decisions on faculty’s tenure and promotion when he has never experienced that environment. He will find that standard military vocabulary doesn’t go well in the public university – for example, the way he referenced faculty as “subordinates” during his April visit really set off some people.

    If the BOT had voted in April to hire him, they would have followed their by-laws, even if the faculty didn’t like the decision. If they had actually had the time to reopen the search and still hired Caslen, they would have followed the by-laws. But most of them bowed to McMaster’s pressure, violated their own procedures, and now the new president is coming into a poisoned atmosphere.

    1. Richard2

      “As president, he will be making decisions on faculty’s tenure and promotion when he has never experienced that environment. ”

      As a 3-Star Army General, he’s had more than his say in determining promotions during his career. He knows what the rules are for approval and denying tenure and promotion. Besides by the time a candidate has cleared his college, the faculty senate, and the Provost his job is pretty much just a rubber stamp decision. I don’t know one faculty member who’s tenure packet made it all the way to the President’s desk only to be denied. I have heard one made it to the Board of Trustees and was denied at that level but there was a story behind that decision.

  6. Phillip

    Rose is 100% correct on this. This is entirely a political appointment, one made quite specifically to send a message, make a point, please the right-wing base. A few points from my perspective as a faculty member who attended the Senate meeting last week:

    I originally was not that opposed to Caslen, and was open to the idea he might be a good “bridge” between the university and the legislature. However, many of my senior faculty colleagues who better understand the workings of an R-1 research university, the way funding works, etc., made compelling arguments at the time to the effect that Caslen, while having served well in his capacity at West Point, was not the best fit for USC because the nature of the schools are so profoundly different, and he had no experience in a faculty governance situation like what we have at a public university like USC.

    I did also feel that the comments about sexual assault & binge drinking were taken out of context and were perhaps even a little unfair to Caslen but you are parroting the right-wing talking points when you make it seem like that was the main reason he was not approved in April. That is simply not true, though the Governor would like you to think so. The faculty objections on qualification grounds were just as strong then.

    But what the student protests did was to galvanize McMaster & his “anti-social-justice-warrior” pro-Trumpist contingent among the Trustees, those who now saw that they had the numbers to cram Caslen down the university’s throat, saw that they had a chance to put those kids and the faculty (viewed by Curtis Loftis and his ilk as all “Marxists” anyway—which, as someone who taught at a REAL liberal bastion–Ann Arbor— for several years, I can tell you is pretty darn laughable) in their place.

    Knowing that doing this while all faculty and students were around during the year would trigger much larger protests, McMaster cannily decided to sneak this in during the summer, and in fact, tried to do this entirely in secret the first time around a couple of weeks ago.

    You write “I tend to give more weight to reasonable people saying reasonable things despite an emotionally fraught situation than I do to a crowd shouting “Shame!” repeatedly.”— I know you were at the rally at Russell House the other day, but if you had been at the Senate meeting the previous week, you would have witnessed a dignified, decorous, eminently reasonable gathering—with no personal animosity towards Caslen the person (and in fact, many comments acknowledging his outstanding record of service), but with careful and meticulous enumeration of the ways in which his particular job experience and record does not fit best for a public R-1 university of this type. Moreover, the strongest objections were to the process itself and concern for the disregard of this overwhelming faculty opinion.

    Everybody in the crowd of about 200 (not just Senators) had the opportunity to speak, and in the end the Senate (a pretty large body, not sure how many, from all different departments/Schools, and I seriously doubt all Marxists!) voted UNANIMOUSLY both on the resolution condemning the process and urging a reopening of the search, as well as on a motion of no confidence in Caslen as a candidate for university president). So, while you may feel personally that Caslen was well-qualified, I would suggest that maybe such an overwhelming vote from diverse faculty with deep knowledge of the challenges that any university president of a state research university faces, should be acknowledged as coming from a more fully informed position.

    It was disappointing to read of James Smith’s opinion–I can only guess there’s a kind of military solidarity there. For every James Smith though, there was a Micah Caskey who showed political independence by agreeing that the path McMaster was taking was a disaster. Then, finally, there was Darla Moore’s 11th hour statement, which I really hoped might tip one or two votes, enough to defeat Caslen’s candidacy, but it was not to be.

    In the end, as Cindi Scoppe said in her editorial, those of us opposed to Caslen have to hope we are wrong, and we do the best we can. But the really sad thing is that the mask of civility is ripped off, and the ugliness of what much of the one-party government of this state (and sadly, many of its citizens) believes about a public university like USC is revealed. At the Senate meeting, there was no mention of Trump or any kind of partisan commenting. The politicization of this process came ENTIRELY from one side. The Governor is too smooth to say this himself, but the comments made by less self-controlled people like Loftis, or the comments of the one Trustee caught on the hot mike (talking about people coming “from out-of-town” to protest, part of the “Kamala Harris crowd”), these were the emotional ones—these were the people whose anger, whose resentment, whose contempt, lay at the heart of the entire move by McMaster to override the original April decision. Hiring a General to “take control” of these lefty faculty, those uppity students daring to ask for more diversity in the search process or among the Board of Trustees—what could please the base more?

    The question now is what happens when the students return and the rest of the faculty next month. There is movement afoot to continue activism, not sure what path that will take. Perhaps just symbolic—I’m unsure myself how I feel. Of course, little of what I do at the University is impacted that much on a day to day basis by the university president (the appointment of the next Provost is probably a more crucial event in that sense), but I’m saddened to really learn (though I guess I should have always known) that just my very title professor at University of South Carolina makes me automatically considered a hostile enemy to the powers-that-be in our state.

    1. Richard2

      Where were the student in April? There are more than 35,000 students on the Columbia campus, the April protest drew around 75 students. That means that 34,925 students either supported Caslen or simply didn’t care. There are approximately 1000 faculty on the USC Columbia campus, how many of them were protesting in April? How many of the 2000 staff were protesting in April?

      The smartest initial decision Caslen can make would be to contact William Tate and see if he would consider being the next Provost for USC. I can guarantee that decision alone would end 90% of the bickering among faculty.

      1. Barry

        The numbers don’t matter. The numbers that did speak up convinced the board to pause the process long enough to open the search back up.

        Presidential searches at USC have been non- events and I’m sure the board thought this would be ho-hum. Getting any pushback was a surprise, enough of one that it caused the board to slow things down.

        Then McMaster stared with his political pressure. .

        1. David T

          How do the numbers not matter? From those numbers 0.002% of the USC population was protesting. 99.998% of the population wasn’t protesting. Are you going to stop doing something simply because 0.002% of the people are against you?

          How many of the previous Presidents at USC weren’t internal hires? Sorenson is the only one I can think of.

          1. Rose

            External hires in reverse chronological order, back to 1900:
            Sorensen, Palms, Holderman, Jones, Russell, N. Smith, Douglas, Melton, Mitchell

            In the last 70 years, out of 9 presidents, only two, Pastides and Sumwalt, were internal candidates. This excludes interim presidents Bradley and A. Smith.

          2. Barry

            Numbers don’t matter because getting any pushback is surprising.

            And the board stated the students do p,wining was not a reason they slowed the process down.

  7. Richard2

    James Smith has a part-time, $140,000 job that allows him to golf with Army brass and keep his own practice up and running. Do you expect him to badmouth anything USC does? I support Caslen, he was the most qualified leader of the four. The other four may be better academics, but as a leader he didn’t have any competition.

    1. Bill

      Smith didn’t want to become governor;it was in the bag.That’s why he didn’t run a real campaign…

    2. Barry

      When did Henry fall in love with a candidate he had never met?

      Is it simply because Trump once interviewed Caslan? That seems to be his best quality to some of the Trump cheerleaders.

  8. Scout

    I would like to reiterate what Rose and Phillip said; my husband is in the chemistry department and what he has reported to me matches their accounts. I feel like the comments about the underage drinking and diversity got more coverage than the faculty concerns for some reason, which were more involved than just the lack of experience and the lack of a degree. My husband’s concerns after hearing Caslan speak to and take questions from the faculty were much more to do with his apparent lack of understanding of how a Research University works. Additionally he apparently hadn’t even attempted to familiarize himself with the specifics of the University’s strategic plan or vision or any of the details of how the University works, to supplement his lack of experience. I got the feeling that much of the faculty was trying to be open minded despite his lack of experience, but when he spoke to them, he did not give a good impression that he understood what is involved or had even tried to understand.

    1. Barry

      It was clear from Caslan’s comments he had no knowledge about USC at all. He had done no basic homework.

      He wanted to be a universiry President. That seems to to be the only reason he applied for the USC job.

      1. David T

        Okay give us an example of how he didn’t do his homework? You’re implying that he’s not prepared for the duties of this position? He’s held a similar position for five years at a more prestigious institution than USC and was very successful at it, the only reason he’s not still there is because of a mandatory retirement age in the military. 99% of his job is fundraising, he’s not going over and critiquing faculty research grant proposals all day.

        If his history with students is a concern, he may not play trumpet in the band, he may not drive around town singing songs with students in a Mini Cooper, but he has a tradition of engaging and challenging students while working out with students in the PE Center. And if you walk across campus these days we need more physically fit students than we do pep band members or karaoke singers. The faculty apparently aren’t even willing to give the man a chance before beating him down. The only thing is, like those before him, I don’t think he’s going to go down without swinging back which scares the $#!+ out of faculty. Mob mentality is strong at USC.

        1. Scout

          No he hasn’t held a similar position because leading a Military College is a different job than leading a Research University. He did not review the strategic plan or the mission of the University before talking to the faculty. He could not answer questions or demonstrate understanding of the processes involved in running a Research University, which again are different and specific to this situation. That is how he did not do his homework.

          1. Richard2

            I find it hard to believe that someone in his career positions was not prepared or did not prep for one of the biggest jobs in his life. You are making it sound like he just woke up and walked into the interview off the street. You don’t make it to where he was in the military without being prepared. Did you watch his press conference today? Did you read the article in The State from one of his former students? I think a lot of you people who are physically sick at the appointment of Bob Caslen will be changing your mind very soon. The man makes a quarter-million in retirement benefits, he doesn’t need the money that this job pays, he could have taken a defense contractor position that would pay 2-3 times what this job pays. He took the job because he loves higher education. Some people will never approve of him simply because his military background, not knowing what it takes to get to where he was when he retired. I’m willing to bet that he’ll outwork any single faculty member on campus.

            1. Scout

              Maybe it’s hard to believe. You work that out for yourself. I am reporting what my husband said happened. He witnessed it. I don’t know why Caslan wouldn’t have prepared. It may well be out of character. Nevertheless, it was observed and was concerning.

              The people I have talked to who are faculty and are concerned do not question that he is a decent talented person who has done well in his previous jobs. The point was that his previous jobs were not like this one and when asked about specifics for this one, he did not seem to understand.

              I think I am a decent and fairly talented person in a lot of ways. That doesn’t mean I should be given any job if I have no relevant experience or specific knowledge for that job.

              My husband feels that how he handles things will make a difference. If he chooses a well qualified and respected Provost and delegates more academic matters to him, while he manages the more administrative tasks, he thinks that would work.

              People do want this to work.

              1. David T

                “My husband feels that how he handles things will make a difference. If he chooses a well qualified and respected Provost and delegates more academic matters to him, while he manages the more administrative tasks, he thinks that would work.”

                Isn’t that kind of how it’s supposed to work? The President handles administrative issues and the Provost handles academic issues? I don’t recall ever seeing Palms, Sorenson, or Pastides reviewing research grant proposals, faculty performance review files, or curriculum sequences. That’s what is important to faculty, and why you hire a Provost. The Board hires a President to do one thing, raise money, not to supervise faculty members.

              2. David T

                So you’re already telling me that Caslen will fail in placing a Provost because that’s what your husband tells you. With attitudes like your husband’s no wonder this place is going downhill.

                1. Scout

                  You might want to re-read what has been said. At no time did I tell you “that Caslen will fail in placing a Provost because that’s what your husband tells you.”

                  What I have said repeatedly is that I want him to be successful, and my husband thinks the choices he makes around the Provost position and how he delegates duties will be critical to if he succeeds.

                  There was no mention of a belief or expectation that he will choose badly in these areas. Again there is the hope that he will choose wisely here.

                  However, it would be silly to not acknowledge that there is some question here as to how he will choose, given the non-conventional path this whole thing has taken. He is the non-conventional choice without the qualifications or experience typical of previous candidates chosen. And the process by which he was chosen was also non-conventional – with the Governor interfering in the process, forcing the issue, and applying pressure to the board, while much of the faculty and students were away.

                  So rightly or wrongly for him, he has been associated with McMaster, who apparently is OK with non-conventional, possibly shady methods, and Trump, who has demonstrated the desire to disrupt often by placing non-qualified people in top jobs.

                  Perhaps these aren’t Caslan’s methods. I hope not. I will give him the chance to prove himself.

                  But you can’t deny that there is reason to question.

          2. David T

            Have you already made up your decision on the guy or are you willing to give the guy a chance to do his job before? Faculty I’ve talked to are already talking about how the university is going to implode from within and that we’ll be lucky to even have jobs this time next year. It’s almost comical to see and hear how ridiculous some people are getting. I was in a meeting yesterday where people were physically crying because Caslen was appointed as the next President. It was all I could do to keep from rolling my eyes.

            1. Scout

              That is a completely different question. I do hope that he can be successful because I care about the University. I hope we don’t lose accreditation and I hope that our best faculty who would have no problem going somewhere else don’t choose to leave.

              Whether or not I want him to be successful doesn’t change the fact that he was not the most qualified candidate, he was put in by a tainted non-transparent process, it remains to be seen if he can do the job, and he does not have the support of the faculty.

              Those are not things to be happy about. Why would you risk the University’s reputation and accreditation if you had other better choices without all those downsides? It doesn’t make much sense.

              1. David T

                So if I understand this correctly, Caslen can not succeed without the support of the faculty, and the faculty are not willing to support Caslen. Doesn’t this kind of put his success or failure in the hands of the faculty?

                If he’s forced to try to succeed on his own, or with those on campus who are willing to side with him, I can’t imagine that painting a pretty picture for the faculty. Most of the staff members I’ve talked to are happy he was chosen. If the faculty want a war, I’m thinking they picked the wrong person to be their enemy. A man who has 40 years of real world experience dealing with this type of thing. If you think the university will go down the toilet without faculty support, how will it go with faculty who won’t have or only have limited (as in slowed to a crawl) staff support?

                1. Ba

                  Caslan is going to have a very difficult tenure.

                  1). He’s a short term president. Everyone knows that.

                  2) Faculty will not support him. They will go along to get many alums won’t support him because of the political appointment and involvement of the governor.

                  3) I am sure he will kiss enough rump to smooth over some of the hardest feelings. He seems to already be puckering up a lot.

                  4) No one in theat job would be a total disaster. But he’s replacing the most popular president in the history of the university.

                  5) if you are to be believed (which would be a bad idea), indictments should be headed his way soon. So he will have to handle this top secret issue that you have alleged.

                2. Scout

                  I don’t know that it is true that the faculty are not willing to support him. I think it will depend on how he handles things, and he may well win support. If he is the amazing administrator that y’all think he is hopefully he will know how to listen to and address concerns and delegate or educate himself on tasks he does not have experience or knowledge with.

                  I really do think people want it to work.

                3. Barry

                  Caslan is going to have a very difficult tenure.

                  1). He’s a short term president. Everyone knows that.

                  2) Faculty will not support him. They will go along to get many alums won’t support him because of the political appointment and involvement of the governor.

                  3) I am sure he will kiss enough rump to smooth over some of the hardest feelings. He seems to already be puckering up a lot.

                  4) No one in theat job would be a total disaster. But he’s replacing the most popular president in the history of the university.

                  5) if you are to be believed (which would be a bad idea), indictments should be headed his way soon. So he will have to handle this top secret issue that you have alleged.

                4. Barry

                  not in the least.

                  Like trump, I voice my opinion strongly.

                  My Trump friends tell me they love strong opinions expressed with no holding back.

                5. David T

                  No idea, like I mentioned when I said it, they were simply rumors and they weren’t against USC. They were against Pastides for his involvement with Richard Quinn. From what I understand it has to do with the hiring of McMaster as a fund raiser for the law school.

                  If it’s like any other law suit brought involving USC it’ll be settled and swept under the rug. The easiest way to make money as a USC employee is to file a valid lawsuit against USC because they’ll settle out of court to keep it out of the newspaper. I know two people who were refused tenure and sued the university and settled for one year’s salary. I know of a couple discrimination lawsuits that were settled the same way except the employees are still here.

        2. Ba

          “Okay give us an example of how he didn’t do his homework? “

          1). He has NO knowledge of USC’s strategic plan- NONE.

          2) he spoke as if he had no idea about USC at all.

          He spoke as if he could have been applying for the job at Utah, or Maine.

          I’ve had quite a few job interviews. I always did my homework (annual reports, etc) and spoke in-depth about the company I was focusing on. I expect a candidate for a university top job to do at least a bit of homework.

        3. Barry

          “Okay give us an example of how he didn’t do his homework? “

          1). He has NO knowledge of USC’s strategic plan- NONE.

          2) he spoke as if he had no idea about USC at all.

          He spoke as if he could have been applying for the job at Utah, or Maine.

          I’ve had quite a few job interviews. I always did my homework (annual reports, etc) and spoke in-depth about the company I was focusing on. I expect a candidate for a university top job to do at least a bit of homework.

  9. Mark Stewart

    I would be amused to see Caslan go after the “slumlords” who give the edges of campus (and on into the neighborhoods) to the south and east such a shoddy appearance. Hopefully, his military mind will find this an affront to good order.

    Even with the students gone I never see any signs of landscaping, maintenance or even just some property clean-up around any of them during the summer months (let alone during the school year).

      1. Mark Stewart

        Yeah – it was kind of a joke. But not really. I was at USC a lot last weekend – and in the surrounding neighborhood areas. I kept thinking about McMaster’s relationship to the university as I drove around and saw all the nearly empty and not hardly maintained rentals. His “attachment” is not a healthy one in any respect.

        1. Rose

          Like the renovations on the historic McCord house at Pendleton and Bull that were started months ago and now just sit unfinished.

        2. David T

          I don’t think the university has much say about surrounding properties, its no different than you having a say on what your neighbor should do with his property. I’m not a rental owner because I don’t think I’d survive knowing that the renters in my houses aren’t taking care of the property like I would. After a while I’m sure dumping money into a property only to see it destroyed by college house parties teaches you not to do more than the minimum to keep things up to code. You’re not going to put in hardwood floors and granite countertops into a house that’ll be rented by college students.

          1. Barry

            Henry is a slum- lord and has been for a long time.

            No one expects granite countertops. Hardwood floors? Most of the houses around campus have wood floors already. It’s not too much to ask that he get the grass cut every so often though. But he doesn’t care how it looks to anyone.

  10. Phillip

    David T: It’s not a question of more-or-less prestige. West Point is a magnificent institution, but it is 1/9 the size of USC, it is funded on an entirely different structure from USC, it is not a R-1 research institution like USC, and only 25% of the faculty at West Point are civilians, which means that as head of West Point, 75% of the faculty were military subordinates to Caslen. It’s going to be a very different situation for him here.
    As for “giving him a chance” I’m all for that.

    1. David T

      Let’s take this point-by-point:
      1/9th the size of USC – So the guy from USC-Upstate taking over is fine with you? There was talk of people on campus mentioning that they should just give the job to Kelly, since he met the qualifications. That 2 years of experience at USC-Upstate put him over the top of what the initial four candidates all had.

      R-1 Research Institution – How much time during a typical week would Harris Pastides spend working on Research related tasks? Is he over there right now sitting at his desk reviewing faculty research grant proposals? Is he reviewing research grant budgets? Is he getting progress reports on what a History professor or Math professor is doing regarding his grant?

      “Although the majority of the rotating military faculty have only the Master’s degree, 100% of the stabilized military faculty have the Ph.D., and the Ph.D. is now normative for civilian faculty.”

      So this is kind of like how more than 50% of the teaching load at USC is done by adjunct faculty and instructors? What is the teaching load for full-time faculty at USC vs West Point? Most of the senior faculty I know teach one course per semester, typically an upper level course with about 5-15 students. They aren’t teaching the 101 courses with 300 students.

      Different situation – Ask Brad how many different jobs his dad has as a career military man. Did he have the same job just at different locations? Caslen has spent his entire adult career adapting and surrounding himself with the best people around him. Is the latter part of his career, his subordinates were 1 and 2 star Generals, Colonels, and Lt. Colonels. Throw in a few Sgt. Majors and Command Sgt. Majors to cover the enlisted side. At USC he will have VP’s, Deans, Directors who are supposed to be the best available to handle their assigned duties.

      Is he going to clean house and have heads rolling? I hope so, USC has been overdue for a house cleaning for about the last 15 years, there hasn’t been one since Andrew Sorenson was here.

      Caslen’s primary job at USC will be to fund raise, someone needs to pay for the money Pastides has been spending over the past 11 years. At West Point Caslen raised $465 million of private funding in five years… not too bad for a guy at a school 1/9th the size of USC. Pastides raised just under $1 Billion during his 11 years here, he should have raised $19 billion to match the success rate Caslen had at West Point.

      1. David T

        My math is off, Caslen raise $465 million in 5 years, Pastides raised 900-something million in 11 years so that’s about a wash. What is not a wash is the size of the schools. Pastides should have raised 9-times the amount Caslen raised due to the size of the schools and alumni.

      2. Barry

        “There was talk of people on campus mentioning that they should just give the job to Kelly, ”

        1, nah. My son is on campus. He heard nothing about this supposed idea. A few folks saying something doesn’t mean it was an idea.

        2. Irrelevant. The point is the schools are obviously very, very different.

        3. he’s not “cleaning house, nor should he. LOL. That is simply a really ignorant misunderstanding of his job.

        4. The fundraising comparisons are also quite ignorant. Pastides is the most popular President in the last 50 years and probably in history. He did an excellent job of raising funds, but better yet he did a much better job of helping modernize many aspects of campus that had been neglected and was a true champion of students.

        1. David T

          So your student son never heard about it so it’s not true. I work on campus and heard it mentioned more than once. Who does your son know who isn’t a faculty member? Does he know anyone in administration, does he know anyone in administration who has been here long enough to know fact from rumor? I’ve worked here over 20 years and know the difference between BS, rumors, and fact. Maybe they should just get your son to run the place, he sounds like a hell of a guy.

          I guess repeated calling another user ignorant is fine with Brad now. You seem to get away with it with me, but then you argue everything I post. Brad preaches civility among users but it appears calling someone who actually works on campus ignorant over an 18-19 year old who’s probably on campus what, 6 hours a week during the summer?

          I’d rather have a president who is successful than popular.

          Pastides did modernize certain sections of the university, while others continued to decline. You apparently don’t realize how much money Pastides spent on campus, he raised a lot of money, but he spent more than he raised. Take a walk through some of the pre-1990’s buildings on campus. Look at the ceiling tiles and count how many aren’t water stained. Walk down the halls and notice how many floor tiles are damaged or worn. Go into offices and classrooms and take a look at the ratty stained carpet. Money on campus went into housing and athletics. The Business School got a new building, it’s already having serious issues with layout and construction. They’ve shut off all of the “green” aspects of the building and are now 100% on city water. Cubicles now occupy open spaces and conference rooms because the building was laid out for 80% of actual employee capacity. The Law School got a new building thanks to the legislature, they’re also experiencing structural issues, Journalism got a renovated building that has routine odd smells coming from an unknown source. Social Work has a renovated building, the first floor has flooded with 4-6″ of water twice in the past three years. This is your “modernizing”. Check with your son, these all may be ignorant statements because he has not heard of them.

          1. Barry

            I believe my son, not you. A few people saying Kelly or Captain Kirk should be given the job isn’t worth discussing.

            I’m a member of several alumni groups with some members who are close to a few board members. There was NO mention of Kelly over the last week other than a reminder that he could serve a few months if a candidate wasn’t chosen.

            I didn’t call you ignorant. I mentioned some of what I consider to be ignorant comparisons/statements.

            Pastides was both very popular and very successful. A small minority of detractors is meaningless.

            It would take a handful of Presidents, and a billion + dollars over several decades to modernize the entire campus. The great majority of people realize that.

            Athletic facility construction didn’t take away from academic funding. It’s not the same pot of money. Preventing athletic funding doesn’t mean academic funding happens. If it did, I’d wholeheartedly support shutting down the athletic program tomorrow morning. Are athletic priorities out of whack across the country? Of course. That’s not new.

            I happened to tour a very nice private university in North Carolina earlier this week with a top administrator at the school. We viewed a new multi million dollar dorm that was recently opened and one they were quire proud of given it’s amenities. We observed flooding problems, issues with the foundation, and discussed electrical issues with the building. Common things on a university campus with various needs. We didn’t even dare to walk in one of the older buildings on campus that was “in bad need of remodeling” per my guide.

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