COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Senator Dick Harpootlian is following through on a statement he made to change the way the University of South Carolina's board of trustees is selected.

He made his comment in a letter concerning the University of South Carolina's Board of Trustees vote for retired Army Gen. Robert Caslen to head up the state's flagship university.

In the letter dated July 18, Harpootlian states, in anticipation of the USC vote, 

"When the Senate returns, I look forward to supporting Senate Bill 798, sponsored by Senate President and Senator Harvey Peeler (R-Cherokee) and Senator Darrell Jackson’s (D-Richland), to reform the Board. Based on the spectacle that has unfolded over the last two weeks, I am concerned that bill fails to go far enough. I intend to examine the propriety of allowing the State’s governor to sit ex officio on the USC Board. Only one other state institution of higher learning guarantees the governor such power over its board and it is now apparent why that is a terrible idea for USC."

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Senate Bill 798 would:

  • reduce the size of the board from 17 to 8
  • elected members would be from each of the seven congressional districts rather than 16 judicial circuits
  • there would be one at-large member appointed by the Governor
  • trustee terms would be 4 years, but would serve after his term until a successor is elected and qualified

A link to the full text of the bill can be found at The bill was introduced April 30, 2019.

Harpootlian's letter is below:

Harpootlian letter1
Harpootlian letter2

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