From our News Partners at WCBD-TV:
CHARLESTON, SC -
Just hours after Senator Larry Grooms (R-Charleston) submitted his bill that calls for a merger between the College of Charleston and MUSC, faculty members at the College unanimously agreed to oppose any merger plans.
During a special meeting of the faculty senate, College of Charleston faculty members passed two resolutions that asked for the merger not to go through.
The first resolution was briefly discussed and passed within a matter of minutes. It outlines eight different reasons why faculty members are against the merger. Those concerns range from worries that the mission of the College of Charleston will change, to questions over how the state plans to pay for what faculty members call, "the forced merger."
"It's as though they don't recognize or understand the concerns that we, as a faculty, have," Dr. Lynn Cherry said.
The second resolution outlines how administration should handle discussions of the merger. The first part asks the Provost at the College to reconvene the Institutional Organizational Review Committee to address concerns of merger. The bill also asks that the College works to create a dialogue between state lawmakers, College of Charleston officials and faculty members. The resolution also wants the administration to ask the faculty about any future plans.
Despite the seemingly high level of concern the faculty members have about the bill, Sen. Grooms said it will be a good thing for both the College of Charleston and MUSC.
"This bill does not change the character and the great mission of MUSC nor the College of Charleston, but what it does do is help create the opportunity for a greater a number of postgraduate degrees that could be offered," Sen. Grooms said by phone Tuesday.
Since the merger was first introduced by Representatives Leon Starvinakis and Jim Merrill earlier this month, students and faculty at both the College and MUSC have been outspoken about the plans.
On February 14, MUSC's Board of Trustees also unanimously opposed any merger. At last week's basketball game, College of Charleston students silently protested the merger.
While the faculty member's resolutions did call for opposition to the merger, some said they don't oppose all forms of change at CofC.
"We do not want to be obstacles to all forms of change at the College of Charleston," Philip Jos said. "In fact, we want to continue to be part of the conversation."
Still, as the possible "Charleston University Campus," name still lingers as a possibility, Cherry hopes that lawmakers will pay attention to the outcry before making the merger a done deal. If not, she said, the very reason why she came to teach in Charleston could be changed.
"Those things that we hold very dear to who we are as the College of Charleston. this legislation would put that into jeopardy," Cherry said
The two resolutions will now be passed along to College of Charleston officials and sent to state lawmakers.
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