What’s the Matter With South Carolina?

I read about this last week, before the Faculty Senate voted unanimously against the appointment of their new neo-confederate president.

Members of the College of Charleston community are not happy with the choice of a Republican politician with ties to neo-Confederates to be the next president of the college. Donors are complaining. Students are protesting. And on Tuesday, the Faculty Senate held a unanimous vote expressing no-confidence in the school’s Board of Trustees.

The college’s board announced late last month that it had voted to offer the president job to Glenn McConnell, the current Republican lieutenant governor of South Carolina. But McConnell’s lack of experience in academia, and his well-publicized enthusiasm for the Confederacy, quickly inspired protests.

Can we have a discussion about the fact this man is the sitting Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina? That seems more worthy of protest than the fact that he will serve as president of the College of Charleston.

Now, granted, the people of South Carolina did not elect him as their Lieutenant Governor. But he became Lieutenant Governor because state law says that the Senate President Pro Tempore shall serve as LG in the event of a vacancy in the office. In other words, Mr. McConnell was the longest-serving member of the state Senate, where he served from 1981 to 2012.

He’s been elected many times.

And he’s most famous for his fight to preserve the practice of making public displays of the Confederate Flag.

By percentage of population that is black, South Carolina ranks 5th in the nation at 28%. Only Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, and Maryland rank higher. By contrast, only six percent of the student body at the College of Charleston is black.

Neither group appreciates being led by a neo-confederate.

[Cross-posted at Booman Tribune]

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Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at ProgressPond.com