by Paul Bowers
The College of Charleston's Board of Trustees voted Saturday to install Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell as the school's next president. The vote was unanimous except for two board members who were absent.
The decision went against the outspoken wishes of many faculty members, students, and the local NAACP, whose complaints focused on McConnell's lack of education experience and his propensity for dressing up in Confederate garb. Some also questioned whether McConnell's political connections unfairly swayed the board's decision to consider him a candidate in the first place.
Morgan Koerner, a professor in the German department, expressed his disappointment with the decision in an e-mail Sunday morning.
"The wound has been made, and it is unclear to me how the College will recover," Koerner said. "I can't imagine what magic qualities Mr. McConnell would bring to the table that would solve the devastating blow to morale that his hire has caused and will continue to cause."
McConnell was one of three final candidates for the job, along with Martha D. Saunders, a current provost at the University of West Florida, and Dennis J. "Jody" Encarnation, a Harvard faculty member.
McConnell, who declined to run for re-election as lieutenant governor so he could focus on the CofC president campaign, will take the place of President George Benson.
"We believe that Glenn McConnell is the best person to lead the College of Charleston, and we expect to quickly conclude the contract negotiations and formally introduce Lt. Gov. McConnell to the campus and the community," says Greg Padgett, chair of the Board of Trustees and chair of the Presidential Search Committee. "I want to thank the members of the Board, the members of the Presidential Search Committee and the entire College of Charleston community for their thoughtful input into the selection of the next president." Padgett, a 1979 CofC graduate, was a member of the same fraternity as both McConnell and Encarnation, Pi Kappa Phi.