Poll: Most CofC faculty find McConnell unacceptable as a presidential candidate

Saunders enjoys highest support ranking among faculty


A new poll of College of Charleston faculty shows little enthusiasm for Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell as a candidate for the school's next president.

On Tuesday, the Faculty Welfare Committee at the College of Charleston (a committee within the Faculty Senate) conducted a poll of 760 faculty members, including tenured professors, other instructors, and visiting or adjunct professors. The poll gauged faculty opinions about the three current candidates to replace President George Benson: McConnell, Jody Encarnation, and Martha Saunders (read more about the candidates and their qualifications here).

Here is the question that went out to the faculty in an e-mail:

A presidential candidate that is acceptable to the faculty should be one that could gain its trust, support, and confidence in order to lead the College effectively in a relationship of shared governance.

In each case, indicate whether you find the candidate acceptable for the position of President of the College of Charleston. [Yes, No, or Neutral]

All responses were recorded anonymously. With an overall response rate of about 41 percent, the poll returned the following results:


Sandra Slater, an assistant professor in the History Department and a member of the Faculty Welfare Committee, says the survey confirmed what she had already been hearing in faculty meetings. During one open meeting, she says faculty expressed concerns about McConnell's lack of experience and qualifications in higher education, his lack of satisfactory answers to questions about the need for diversity at the college, and his "association with the Confederacy."

"The Board of Trustees has kind of gone rogue," Slater says.

The poll wasn't the first indicator that the faculty were concerned about the presidential pick. The Faculty Senate passed the following resolution at its March 11 meeting:

RESOLVED that the Faculty Senate of the College of Charleston expresses grave concern that the Presidential search process has been compromised, undermining confidence in a president chosen through the process.

It's been a season of messy political entanglements at the College of Charleston recently, between the controversy-plagued president search, the Statehouse's punitive budget measures for the assignment of a gay-friendly freshman book, and the looming possibility of a merger with the Medical University of South Carolina.

"It is a trifecta of crazy around here," Slater says. "People are flipping out, nobody knows what's going on, and it seems like a siege from all angles."

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