COLUMBIA, S.C. — The quest to find a new president for the University of South Carolina has finally come to an end, after months of searching and contentious debate.
On Friday, USC's Board of Trustees voted in favor of hiring retired army officer Robert Caslen to serve as the school's 29th president.
The move did not come without controversy, and, a day later, there's still debate on how the process by which he was elected will affect the university going forward.
Representative Seth Rose, a USC graduate, says their was a lack of transparency with students that will need to be repaired.
"They passed on all the candidates and, all of a sudden, this candidate, that was passed on, is being voted on up, down, and it was leaked that there was going to be a vote in the first place," Rose said. "That's not transparent; that's not open. This should be an inclusive process; it shouldn't be under the veil of darkness ... This has been embarrassing and it's why so many people have such little trust in government."
Senator Katrina Shealy weighed-in, in favor of Caslen, but hopeful that changes will come to the process in the future.
"We should have never let it get to this point.... Do I think changes need to be made so that this doesn't happen again? Definitely," Shealy said. "Possibly change it to where you have a student representative who has voting power."
Much of the controversy centered around political disputes, which reignited when a meeting was called to vote on Caslen's nomination earlier this month.
"There were politics involved on both sides. When they just start saying it was Governor McMaster, that's not necessarily the case," Shealy said. "This whole fiasco's been an embarrassment for the university and for the state, but now that that's behind us, let's go forward with a positive attitude."
Both Senator Shealy and Representative Rose say they will support the president-elect.
"I think that General Caslen is going to be a great president to lead the university forward," Shealy said. "Let's all take a deep breath and give the new president the opportunity to prove that he can be the new face of the University of South Carolina."
"He is the president-elect, and I will be rooting for him to succeed." Rose said.
Monday, USC will hold a press conference featuring the new president-elect.
Caslen will be answering the media's questions at 11 a.m. at the University of South Carolina.