What USC officials were saying to each other and others in the wake of Gov. Nikki Haley’s decision to oust USC’s largest benefactor ever, Darla Moore, from the school’s trustees
Read the complete emails below this summary. Each email is labeled to match the summary references.
Moore is out
Email No. 1 – Pam Pope to USC president Harris Pastides, 4:02 p.m., Friday, March 11
Casey (a USC legislative lobbyist) may have learned the name of the BOT (board of trustees) member to be ap-pointed by the Gov – David Cofield. .... May take Darla M’s seat??? Just a rumor but thought you should know. We weren’t sure of the spelling or full name at first. ... I have hoped it would be Michael Coffelt, a poker player from Columbia. He would’ve livened up the bus rides to football games, I get.
No. 2 – Thomas Stepp, secretary to the board of trustees, to the trustees and Pastides, 4:41 p.m., Friday, March 11
We learned a short while ago, and sough (sic) confirmation from the Secretary of State, which we received, that Governor Haley today:
1) Reappointed the Hon. Mark W. Buyck Jr. to our board and
2) Appointed Mr. Thomas C “Tommy” Cofield, an attorney from Lexington to fill the seat held by the Hon. Darla D. Moore.
No. 3 – Exchange between Steep and Pastides, starting at 4:44 p.m. that same day
Stepp to Pastides: ... (D)aughter is the front line center cheerleader for Carolina basketball games. We will learn more. Of course, a lawyer from Lexington County. ....
Pastides: ... Lawyers and cheerleaders ... isn’t that always the way?!
Stepp: We really need another lawyer (on the board) – we’ve only got eleven now! The Lawyers Committee can be the Board and deal with the surfeit of minorities and women. OK, I’ll hush.
Nos. 4-5 – Exchange between Amiridis and Steep, starting at 5:35 pm. that same day
Amiridis to Stepp: ... Is Darla’s replacement a surprise or was it expected?
Stepp: Totally unexpected in timing, person chosen, and every other way. ... Jim Fields (the executive director of the Moore-founded Palmetto Institute) thinks Darla will explosive.
Amiridis: Wow! It will be interesting to see Darla explode to someone else :-))
Stepp: ... I predict that if the Governor runs for re-election she will face a well-financed opponent, however.
Amiridis: I’m sure Darla considers it a slap in the face and she will not forget.
No. 6 – Darla Moore School of Business Dean Hildy Teegen to USC Provost Michael Amiridis, 6:05 p.m. that same day
Teegen: Spoke with Harris earlier on this. I’ll reach out to her next week. Ugh.
Haley announces Cofield is in
On March 16, Haley announced she had named Cofield to the USC board; excerpts from emails Nos. 7-9.
No. 7 – Business school staffer Thad Henry to Moore School Dean Teegen, 5:17 p.m., March 16
Henry: ... How do you feel about incorporating the fact that it is the governor’s decision (in USC’s press releases, rather than risk implying “something went wrong” with Moore) ....?
Teegen: Not in writing, but yes in speech.
No. 8 – Business school staffer Gabriele Clark to Teegen, 9:13 a.m., March 17
Clark: The responses are overwhelming against the decision that was made. The question that is being asked is who the new trustee is and why Darla was removed. ...
No. 9 – Teegen to business school staffers, discussing planned student protests and the role USC should play, 10:31 a.m., March 17
Teegen: I think we’re best off letting the students use their own mechanism(s) (and not USC email) to vent/voice concerns.
A tide turns
Excerpts from emails Nos. 10-12
No. 10 – Teegen to a USC spokeswoman, 9:03 p.m., March 18
Teegen: I’ll be with HP (Pastides) & DM (Moore) in Lake City tomorrow
No. 11 – USC vice president Luanne Lawrence to the school’s legislative lobbyists, discussing an upcom-ing student rally for Moore
Lawrence: .. We need a huge crowd. More explanation when i see you. can you help tell others?
Lobbyist Casey Martin: FYI – the (SC) house is on furlough week and won’t be there.
Lawrence: ... Ugh!
Lawrence to Teegen: Reach out to USC/DM (Darla Moore) supporters in the legislature to be sure to be there?
No. 12: BBT S.C. president Michael Brenan to Teegen, 5:14 p.m., March 21
Brenan: I was with Darla and others in Lake City today –she was in good spirits. She was hosting a luncheon for Senator (Lindsey) Graham. In her introduction she stated that she has not had much luck with politicians lately.
Closing ranks around Moore
USC officials prepare for Moore’s town-hall meeting; excerpts from emails Nos. 13-19.
No. 13: USC spokesperson Margaret Lamb circulates a draft press release announcing Moore will hold a town-hall meeting at USC to VP Lawrence and Dean Teegen; the draft includes that Moore “will address students and make an announcement about her support for USC,” starting at 3:31 p.m., March 22
Lawrence: ... Hildy, can we say she is making an announcement (a reference to the $5 million gift that Moore an-nounced at the meeting)
Teegen: I don’t believe we can say she’s making an announcement
No. 14-16: Teegen to Moore, after the students’ rally, 3:23 p.m., March 23
Teegen: Hey Darla. Looking forward to seeing you here tomorrow! I was at the rally – I’d say that we saw about 200 folks there – not just students – clearly also alumni and the business community represented there. The word is getting out strongly for tomorrow’s Town Hall meeting – I know the students will be eager to have the opportunity to talk with you. and of course we’re thrilled about the big news (and have worked hard to keep that under wraps, to not spoil the great surprise). Feel free to give me a call on the cel (sic) if you’d like to talk to today – otherwise I’ll see you tomorrow.
Moore: Hildy, this sounds good, but what about boeing? where are they on this? thanks, darla
Teegen (later): Hi Darla. I just met with Harris (Pastides) and he indicated he’s spoken with Fava (our corporate assigned executive) and (their counsel, I believe) Elam from Boeing and they raised no objections. ....
No. 17: USC blast email to all Moore School faculty and staff, 3:59 p.m., March 23
Blast email: Please encourage your students to attend. Faculty and staff are also welcome to attend.
No. 18: Stepp to USC’s board, Pastides and Lawrence, 6:12 p.m., March 23
Stepp: During the rally expressing support for Darla’s service to the University today, it was announced that she would come to Columbia tomorrow to thank the students and alumni who organized the State House Rally.
Thus, she will speak in a “town hall” format ... The University does not know her message. ... The president (Pas-tides) has spoken with the Governor whose staff had inquired if this is an official University event and the Gover-nor understands it is not an event sponsored by the University. Clearly if the Governor or Darla Moore ever ask to have the opportunity to speak from the campus they would be given that courtesy. ...
No. 19: Boeing executive Mark Fava to Pastides, starting at 7:28 am., March 24
Fava: Thank you again very much for the call yesterday and the advance notice of today’s announcement by Darla Moore. ... In light of political sensitivities that we both acknowledge on the phone yesterday and Boeing’s desire to complete its long strategies with all five universities, we have decided to respond to all press inquiries with the statement that we have previously released and used. We believe that statement strikes a fair and neu-tral position that serves both USC and Boeing for this announcement and at this point in time. ... Personally, I’m very excited. ....”
Pastides: ... I am very appreciative of your statement and Ia gree that it serves all purposes well. More than any-thing, i want you to know that we are committed to a good process that will lead Boeing and USC to identify “the right partnership. ... PS We are visiting with (Savannah-based aircraft-maker) Gulfstream tomorrow and will al-ways keep you posted about developments like this.”
After Moore’s town-hall meeting and $5 million gift announcement; emails from emails Nos. 20- 23
No. 20 – Teegen and acquaintance, Dell executive Aldor Lanctot, exchange emails evaluating Moore’s performance, starting at 1:47 p.m., March 24
Teegen: ... How’s that for a high road strategy?
Lanctot: ... I did not know she had such an SC accent. (Smiley face.) Hopefully she’ll look for an opportunity to support the bus school with an additional (and ongoing) donation. (Another smiley face.) ...
Teegen: We’re on this gift – strong focus on business/economics of aerospace – esp. in SC. ... She’s true blue to us (how fortunate). ...
No. 21 – Teegen and Pastides congratulate Moore, starting at 1:17 p.m., March 24
Teegen: Darla: You were perfect today. Thank you for your exemplary handling of this current situation and for your renewed commitment to USC and SC. Yours is the example we continue to point to and to be led by. We will not waste this particular opportunity to enlist engagement by others in advance of the aerospace industry and in honor of Ron McNair.”
Pastides to Moore and Teegen, ccing Jim Fields (of the previously reported “Darla will be explosive” comment): Let me add to what I said earlier to Darla’s voice mail: The context was ideal; the delivery was the perfect combi-nation of “prepared yet spontaneous;” the student questions were excellent; the standing ovations were heartfelt; the impact on the state’s economy will be real; and the response of government is ... well ... irrelevant!
This was a really good day.
PS The contrast between McNAIR and Hot air is obvious.
Nos. 22-23: USC Engineering and Computing Dean Anthony Ambler to Provost Amiridis, starting at 3:44 p.m. on March 24 and continuing into the next day
Ambler: ... Will the bulk of the $ come to Engineering?
Amiridis: the answer is probably yes ... but we need to talk, since your Business colleague (Teegen) will most likely disagree with my opinion
Ambler: (Smiley face)
Ambler (the next day): Interesting how this Darla Moore is being dealt with. At this time Engineering & Computing knows nothing about it – no communications have come through to us, and yet it is prime-time on the Business School web site ... This is something we need to deal with ... as well as all the other things ...!!! (Smiley face)
Amiridis: Call me to chat ...