Monday letters: Change way trustees chosen

July 1, 2013 

— The way our legislators select college board members calls for reform and transparency. I am surprised no legislator has come forward to be a champion of reform.

The question is: Are we encouraging the best and brightest men and women to apply for these board seats?

I suggest the Legislature adopt guidelines that encourage people with the best credentials to come forward instead of encouraging nepotism and rampant political trade-offs. These boards need to have reasonable term limits (10 years?), representation from alumni, the schools’ foundations, the office of the president, the sports clubs/foundations, as well as representatives appointed by the governor and the Legislature.

The Legislature now controls these appointments, even though most of the major colleges and universities in South Carolina receive less than 10 percent of their funding from the Legislature.

Some of the trustees try to micromanage when they are appointed to promulgate policy; some espouse political ideology over promoting the primary mission of the school.

We often wonder why South Carolina is perceived to not have the best higher education system. Perhaps if we have a different pool of people seeking higher standards, we can aspire to being the best.

I hope champions of trustee appointment reform will emerge before the next legislative session begins. I encourage all responsible citizens to write their legislators and let them know how they feel.

John M. Rivers Jr.


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