The interim president of the Medical University of South Carolina told state lawmakers on Tuesday he was concerned about a potential merger with the College of Charleston.
"I have a concern about the identity of MUSC," Mark Sothmann, MUSC's interim president, told a House budget subcommittee Tuesday morning. "It’s been around since 1824. Our students value that degree. I know students value degrees at the College of Charleston. I also know we need to be sensitive to the business needs of Charleston and that involves advanced degrees. But I think there are ways we can come together and get done what we need to get done in terms of delivering advanced degrees to the business community while at the same time not destroying the identities of two institutions that have real strong brand names."
Sothmann also said questions about the merger are impacting the university's search for a new president -- only the second time in the past 32 years the university has had to find a new president.
"I've received multiple telephone calls from individuals across the country that have an interest in the position," Sothmann said. "The first question they ask is: 'What’s going to happen with the merger? Who am I reporting to? ... Am I going to be dealing with the Affordable Care Act, something revolutionary for every academic health center in the country? or am I going to be dealing with the merger? Where is my attention going to be?"
Sothmann was careful to tell lawmakers his comments were his personal opinion, noting the MUSC board has not taken an official position on the merger.