USC “Communicrat” Stepping Down

SCHOOL’S “RE-BRANDING MANAGER” DEPARTING The University of South Carolina’s top communications staffer – who was paid more than half a million dollars (not counting benefits) over the past two-and-a-half years – is leaving the school for the Left Coast. There she will take another six-figure job at another left-leaning taxpayer-funded…


The University of South Carolina’s top communications staffer – who was paid more than half a million dollars (not counting benefits) over the past two-and-a-half years – is leaving the school for the Left Coast. There she will take another six-figure job at another left-leaning taxpayer-funded institution of higher learning.

USC vice president for communications Luanne Lawrence – architect of the school’s new “No Limits” re-branding campaign – informed colleagues of her decision this week via email.

“I will be leaving USC after March to join the University of California, Davis, as the associate chancellor for Strategic Communications,” Lawrence wrote.

Derided … err, described by her soon-to-be former colleagues as a diabolical intriguer of the worst sort, Lawrence raised eyebrows earlier this month on her Facebook page with a series of “True Confessions.” Some of these hyper-snooty observations reportedly rubbed South Carolina lawmakers the wrong way – a problem Lawrence resolved by de-friending the lawmakers.

Luanne Lawrence
Luanne Lawrence

“Very few wine grapes grown to the right of OR, WA or CA are worth a sip,” one of her entries noted.

Another “confession” offered a less-than-flattering review of local fare.

“Locally grown food  … collards and fatback – not to my taste,” she wrote.  “I long for fresh salmon, fruit off the trees, pesticide free veggies, free range beef and chicken.”

Lawrence also poked fun at obese South Carolinians.

“Standing up from the table at Lizard’s Thicket to get to the car is not my idea of an active life,” she wrote.

Lawrence later claimed these entries were not reflective of her opinions- but rather part of a social media experiment related to her new job.

Hmmmm … okay.

We dealt with Lawrence infrequently … not because we didn’t reach out to her on numerous occasions seeking responses to various stories (like this one), she just rarely returned our calls. Oh well … we get that a lot.

We don’t begrudge Lawrence for ignoring us – or being a catty bureaucrat. Nor do we begrudge her getting paid exorbitant amounts to produce a two-word slogan (while conducting social media “experiments” for other schools). Hell, she’s a redhead – and everybody knows how our founding editor feels about gingers. And besides … if someone offered us a quarter of a million dollars a year to perpetually scheme while doing very little in the way of actual work, we’d be on that like organic black bean sauce on pesticide free veggies.

What’s our (free range) beef with this situation? The people who approve these ridiculous salaries – and more importantly the ridiculous boondoggles all of these overpaid communicrats promote via a sycophantic media.

Therein lies one of the primary sources of unnecessary government growth in this state … which is why we believe each one of South Carolina’s thirty-three state supported colleges and universities should be set free to pursue its destiny as a private institution.



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shifty henry January 11, 2013 at 2:25 pm

….. are those freckles I see there?

Robert January 11, 2013 at 4:37 pm

And we care why?

shifty henry January 11, 2013 at 5:08 pm

….. because freckles are friendly, and you can play “connect the dots” – with your tongue. Anyway, this girl is cute.

Robert January 12, 2013 at 8:44 am

Ha, didn’t mean about freckles…..meant why does anyone care about some woman who held a position that 99.9% of people didn’t know existed, nor did anyone know her name.

Maybe this is more important than I realize?

SparkleCity January 11, 2013 at 10:34 pm

An outsider comes into South Carolina, makes some bucks,slams the state for being hypocritical and leaves for a better job and fatter paycheck in greener pastures to another state that isn’t so full of BS.

Nothing new there………..

cate picord January 11, 2013 at 11:00 pm

I can’t blame her, her job was probably hell and she can’t stand the fakeness of the people she had to deal with. I have been in a similar situation and did the same thing. There is no need to get jealous over her pay check she worked hard to get that money.

Who hired her to begin with?!??! January 11, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Will, maybe you can find out why The State deleted the comments to their story on her leaving. Touch a nerve?

As for me, she can’t leave soon enough. She never understood or appreciated “Carolina.” Grossly overpaid (250,000) and a left coast snub. I don’t care how you do it out there, but wish you the best back there sipping your Pinot. Now that you’re leaving, there are “no limits” as to what we can do.

karinadebeo January 11, 2013 at 11:23 pm

This women understood exactly what “carolina” meant, she found out and realized she didn’t like it. “left coast snob” whatever that means, I’m actually from the west or as you call it the left. I too appreciate organic food. But honestly why do you really care? Well, i think i can answer that; she’s more successful. You don’t know what she went through in this job, you don’t even know her, you don’t know what she spends her money on,and you don’t even know how much she has contributed to the university. She has done more in the two years she was here then the however many years the president was there. You probably don’t even know her, so stop talking out of your behind.

Who hired her to begin with?!??! January 12, 2013 at 10:38 am

Yes I do know her, met shortly after her arrival. She created an impression that never changed.
Sorry to disappoint you, but but your accusation that she’s nmore successful is not close to correct – this is not a matter of jealously She doesn’t care for Carolina and I don’t care for someone in that position with her attitude. Perhaps you should move with her – sounds like you’re in love.

4real January 11, 2013 at 10:54 pm

Well somebody hired her, gave her a big salary and paid over half a million $ salary for her two year stint.
There are way too many “staff honeys” in Pastides’ admin that add no value to the university.
Limit the hiring of executive staff who are not faculty ….there are a few more administrative bitches that need to move on…

joe caffle January 11, 2013 at 10:56 pm

I believe this women is 100% correct, i agree with everything she said. I’m still trying to figure out the big deal, why can’t people just leave her alone and continue to take her success elsewhere. There is no right for anyone to say anything about her.

SCRebel January 11, 2013 at 11:10 pm

So the “no limits” campaign Joe,
You agree with that nonsense ?
If we have a branding problems it relates to the fact that we can’t use USC or Carolina in a national setting.
None of that was addressed during her tenure.
Instead we got new letter heads and business cards…and bleeding heart stories about underachievers.
Branding needs to be related to our product,I.e. students that get great jobs and are leaders in their fields and communities.
I guarantee you, we will get another ‘ communication executive” who will reverse half of the little she did and one up with more nonsense….why? Because the leadership is mostly second rate and those that where not left (Ted Moore) or have been marginalized (you know who they are). What left in Osborne is a pathetic bunch of yeah sayers who drink Pastides cool aid to keep their cushy jobs or that of their wives…

not fair January 12, 2013 at 10:47 pm

SCRebel, you are dead on. She butchered the USC Communications/Media department and staff, instituted that freaking ridiculous “storytelling” mode of journalism, reworked USC Times and other publications to be nothing but puff pieces (want to know news happening on campus? have to rely on the student newspaper). GOOD RIDDANCE!!!!!

joe caffle January 11, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Woah, you think you can just blame this whole thing on her, *Newsflash* she did more for this university than anyone who worked here before her. You act like you are capable of taking this job, well your not so stop talking about what is something you could never do. She has every right to leave.

SCnoRebel January 11, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Good for her.

SCRebel January 11, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Hey Joe,
Maybe she has a little job for you in Davis?
After 6 months she has butted heads with some of the more reasonable people. She is a top-down manager who does not car about what happens in the class room or labs. Hitched her wagon to Pastides and got shafted….was not a team player but an arrogant bitch.

” did more for this university than anyone who worked here before”???
Does she walk on water?

junior justice January 12, 2013 at 8:11 am

She does sound snooty, in a mean sort of way, but perhaps she will be “at home” in her new sty.

Who knows – she may be elected to the US Senate some day. Then she can turn loose her special knowledge about “strategic communications” – whatever the hell that is.

Brendon888 January 12, 2013 at 8:24 am

If nobody would replace her at a $250k price tag you think anybody would notice ???
Students would graduate , research would get done, books written….and nobody would notice.
About a quarter of the academic bloat in USC administration is only a cost factor.
These are people who wax about branding, innovation and fund raising – and if you would look at their actual impact you would – in most cases and in this particular case certainly- have to agree that they actually make life miserable for many of us ( ” you WILL change your departmental web site!”) and contribute close to nothing to the USC mission.
Under Petsicides too many little administrators with very thin CVs got themselves permananent jobs as associate VPs andexecutive this and that…bad legacy someone will need to fix down the road.

shifty henry January 12, 2013 at 9:27 am

…. good points

not fair January 13, 2013 at 9:03 am


major major January 12, 2013 at 11:40 am

More than anything, her comments are juvenile and indicate a lack of judgement. This ostensibly intelligent woman can’t find any locally grown food other than collards and fatback? And we’re supposed to be impressed with her rather pedestrian observation that the west coast is a better wine-growing region than, say, Kentucky?

Perhaps she’ll regale us with other sage observations such as “Kansas beaches really can’t hold a candle to those in Kauai”, or “So tired of looking for decent downhill skiing in South Carolina. I long for Whistler and Park City.”

I’m actually an academic who moved here from the north, but the cynical snobbery and lack of self-awareness of some of these people (especially those who are part of the overpaid, administrative bloat that infects so many universities) is quite off-putting.

Soft Sigh from Hell January 12, 2013 at 5:11 pm

I’m sure California is nice in many ways, but she can have LA smog and California citrus.

What’s the difference between a Florida orange and a California orange?
With a California orange you couldn’t make a damp spot on a asphalt highway after running over it with a 10-ton truck.

Brendon888 January 12, 2013 at 5:42 pm

I am tired of this silly game of ‘whackamolle” where administrators who have never stood in a class roon, not written a paper or given a talk in decades descend from Osborne with their stone tablets about branding, fund raising and starting up companies.
They have been accommodated under Pastides’ tenure and add nothing to USC. Look at Innovista and the whole nonsense of what hydrogen will do for Columbia…all gone down the tube. And we can’t even get in new labs because they belong to the ‘gym teacher’ (think Glee), empty labs and offices ….great achievement of innovation. instead I teach in the old engineering building in rooms that resemble east European universities 20 years ago.
Go brand, innovate and communicate somewhere else! Let us teach and research, maybe we will educate a leader of tomorrow, maybe we will find something unusual and useful, but this bunch of educates suck the life blood away from faculty who are in the front lines of higher public education and then taunt us with their salaries and so-called accomplishments!
Nobody would miss these people, I venture to say things would run smoother, we would focus on the important stuff, there would be less flashy cars in the Osborn parking lot and we could hire new faculty and pay them better. The pitch forks will come out and this whole nonsense wil become the backdrop of a higher education HBO series….

junior justice January 12, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Some good thoughts there–

. January 14, 2013 at 9:38 am

And yet USC currently holds $361.1M in unrestricted net assets (35% of operating costs) – primarily from student tuition and fees. So administration has plenty of funding for “Communicrats” and administration but not for student classrooms or decent labs.

VoiceofReason January 13, 2013 at 12:36 pm

I know it’s hard for some of you to swallow but there is a university in your state that runs like a well oiled machine. Can you say CU later?

major major January 14, 2013 at 8:52 am

That you, Mr. Barker?

Brendon888 January 13, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Not according to what my friends tell me about CU.
Your new VP for research is as pathetic as ours.
And you also have a ‘dragon lady’ as a dean.
Some real good people got their teeth kicked in…you once had a pretty good asociate VP for Research that got pushed back.
barker like Pastides is a legend in his own mind. You face exactly the same problems:
Administrative staff bloat, with the exeprion of your CIO your administrators are academic light weights, just like most of ours…no this is not USC Vs CU – this is systemic and should not be glanced over…
I have too mant friends and colleagues and they would not agree with your ‘CU later” statement.
In particular your ” over- branding” ( top 20 institution, better than IVY league university) is the same nonsense as USC being a hydrogen or aeronautic school.

Scooter January 13, 2013 at 6:36 pm

“range fed beef” my eye. i bet she could not tell a steak from a range fed steer from any other. Just like I could not tell a glass of H Walker from a glass of King James.

Snarkleton_69 January 31, 2013 at 11:01 am

Can’t the Board of Trustees just BUY HER OUT NOW, and send Lawrence on her way (it’s Jan. 31 today, why wait!) ? Every day she is still here creates a personal “Carolina’s Grimace” campaign — for each of us!
Tick tock, tick tock, BOT, University President! Next time, hope Pastides will hire a marketing schemer VP who’s a little more “personable.” And that the Board of Trustees makes SURE of that — because a person who walks right by other communication people without even looking at them, like Lawrence does, has not represented USC well. Unless “snooty and snotty” is what we want to project as Gamecocks. ANYONE would be more personable than her!
A lot of USC Publications employees (excuse me, “Creative Services”) have benefited from Lawrence’s personal “scorched employee” campaign during which she elevated some, and fired others or made it a “race” to see if they could land another position in that hostile office before she fired them. NO LIMITS to the damage she’s left behind; why hold back any LIMITS on moving her out NOW, quietly? Those “Creative Services” employees who will say they’re “glad” she’s gone: Beware, as the ones she elevated will also say that, being “have cake and eat it too” cowards!

Snarkleton_69 January 31, 2013 at 11:14 am

It’s January 31 already. For FOSH sakes, the Board of Trustees should be demanding — not asking! — Pastides to “quietly” cut bait with Lawrence and USHER her out the door. Every day she is here, is just another reminder that Lawrence gets away with insulting the very institution she’s is supposed to represent as its top marketing schemer.
Even worse, she gets away with it further by lying that her insulting Facebook posts about how apparently backward USC and the state of SC are was just “a social media experiment” for research purposes at her next stop, UC-Davis.
ENOUGH! WHY is this woman still here? Every day she is becomes a personal “Carolina’s Grimace” campaign for all of us.

Snarkleton_69 February 1, 2013 at 12:04 pm

If Luanne Lawrence “LOVES” the West so much and thinks USC and South Carolina in general are populated by a bunch of backward southern hicks, then WHY did she come here to begin with? The only answer that makes sense is TO LINE HER FAT BANK ACCOUNT. She was here all of about two years is all and hauled in close to three-quarters-of-a-mill including all the travel perks she’s received. To think — she prides herself on the “Powered by Orange” brand at Oregon State, her previous stop, which is a Gatorade knock-off! And “No Limits” — that’s the BEST a $250 thou market schemer can come up with? What the hike does she do with all of her time to spend all of it coming up with such a cliche?

to Joe Caffle: she has done NOTHING for this University. Her “No Limits” campaign will not last. Using the “butt of the bird” tailfeathers is STUPID and anally unsound. UC Davis will catch on to her pretentious act

NowWhat21 February 6, 2013 at 10:11 am



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