COLUMBIA, S.C. — The big question remains: Who will lead the University of South Carolina?
Friday, July 12, the school's Board of Trustees is set to vote on Robert Caslen as the school's next president.
Reports indicate Governor Henry McMaster is calling the meeting.
The Board of Trustees previously ruled out Caslen and three other candidates following student resistance in April.
Wednesday night, students came together once again to voice their opinion on the issue.
"Anytime a student voice is heard, that's what we want," said USC Student Body President, Luke Rankin.
Inside the Williams-Brice Nursing Building Auditorium Wednesday, USC's student government held an open forum. Attendees didn't hold back.
"I think it's inappropriate what Governor McMaster is doing. To have had for months and months now this search going on and to be completely uninvolved until he calls for a vote the same week he makes any motion towards any candidate is not the way things should be done," said USC Law Student, Jordan Wayburn.
Rankin is a member of USC's Board of Trustees. He can't vote, but says he will relay opinions to board members before Friday's meeting. That includes opinions from students at the forum and those still on summer break.
"We respect a diversity of thought, idea and concern. If we have a group of students that wanna share and be vocal about something they believe and they feel, student government is here to listen and here to ensure they know we are a voice for them," said Rankin. "Not all of our students are on campus, so students are reaching out through e-mail and through text and that kind of thing, any way they can."
During Caslen's visit with USC students in April, he made a comment saying binge drinking was a big factor in campus sexual assaults.
That led to protests against his nomination.
"To me, it's been a mess the whole way around. I don't think what was done this week was the right way to handle things necessarily, but I don't think what was done two months ago was the right response either from the students. I don't think it was handled properly really at any level of the whole system," said John Porter, a rising senior at USC.
After stepping down, Caslen threw his name in the hat again.
"I think they ought to at least have the vote. At this point, they should have had the vote in April. They didn't have it then. They ought to have it now at least to give Calsen his opportunity to be voted upon. They promised it to him earlier, didn't deliver, and now they ought to," said Robert Cathcart, a rising junior at USC.
Among the crowd were new students, like Alexandria Devonish, who took this opportunity to learn about what's going on.
"I've only briefly heard of matters, so I'm just curious to sit in and learn and be involved within the school's culture," said Devonish, a graduate student majoring in Social Work. "It makes me feel good as a new student that there are these opportunities out here for students who aren't aware and want to be informed. That inclusiveness is important."
She was joined by Wendy Gomez, who is also new to USC.
"I think also as social work students, we need to be involved a little more with things like this," said Gomez.
In the meantime, Dr. Brendan Kelly, the chancellor of USC Upstate will lead the school on a temporary basis. He'll take on the job starting August 1.
"In April, the Board of Trustees said they'd continue the search," said Wayburn. "They would look for more candidates, hopefully a more diverse pool of candidates, and they'd try again. That's what I'm asking for."
"In a perfect world, President Pastides comes back for another 10 years," added Porter.