USC Board of Trustees tap Harris Pastides as interim President

South Carolina News

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – A familiar face is once again leading the University of South Carolina.

Inside the Pastides Alumni Center, the school’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously Friday to officially name Harris Pastides as the school’s interim President.

Pastides was President of UofSC for more than a decade. He retired in 2019.

Pastides takes over following the resignation of former President Bob Caslen. Caslen stepped down after he gave a commencement address marred by allegations of plagiarism and misidentification of the school itself.

Pastides will be paid $750,000 for his one year as interim President the Board said. Former President Bob Caslen will serve as an adviser.

Trustees also on Friday outlined a plan to launch an international search for the university’s next president. According to the board, they are pledging a fair and equitable process to identify a diverse pool of world-class candidates to lead the eight-campus system.

According to a release, the Board approved a set of new policies in 2020 to strengthen overall governance, protect trustees from external political influence in decision making and improve the presidential search process. In accordance with policy, the following individuals will serve as members of the search committee:

  • Eight voting members of the Board of Trustees, including Thad H. Westbrook, Alex English, Brian C. Harlan, Leah B. Moody, Emma W. Morris, C. Dorn Smith, Eugene P. Warr Jr. and Mack I. Whittle Jr. Westbrook will serve as search chair;
  • Five faculty members from the of the university system, including: Aiken Faculty Assembly chair (Alexandra Roach), chair of the Beaufort Faculty Senate (Jayne Violette), chair of the Columbia Faculty Senate (Mark Cooper), chair of the Upstate Faculty Senate (Lisa Johnson), chair of the Palmetto College Campuses Faculty Senate (Ernest Jenkins, Lancaster);
  • President of the USC Columbia Student Government Association (Alex Harrell);
  • Several non-voting advisors were appointed to the search committee to represent additional stakeholders and to provide valuable perspectives, including a representative from the UofSC Alumni Association (Robin Roberts), a representative of USC’s Foundations (James Bennett), community members (Lou Kennedy and David Seaton), a UofSC System staff representative (Lauren Smith) and the dean of the College of Engineering and Computing (Hossein Haj-Hariri);
  • By policy, the secretary of the university and of the Board of Trustees will staff the presidential search.

This is a developing story.

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