College Of Charleston: You Can Go Your Own Way

LAWMAKER SUGGEST SCHOOL “GO PRIVATE” TO AVOID STATE MEDDLING Aside from his federal indictment as part of a stem cell racket (and an ongoing lawsuit that could open him up to public corruption charges), S.C. Rep. Stephen Goldfinch (RINO-S.C.) is best known as the liberal lawmaker who wants state government…


Aside from his federal indictment as part of a stem cell racket (and an ongoing lawsuit that could open him up to public corruption charges), S.C. Rep. Stephen Goldfinch (RINO-S.C.) is best known as the liberal lawmaker who wants state government to take over the Charleston School of Law (CSOL).

Or merge it with the College of Charleston – where his wife, Renee, serves as a board member.

In light of his efforts to expand the Palmetto State’s hopelessly bloated higher ed system, we were curious to see Goldfinch’s response to a College of Charleston student leader who objected to recent ideologically motivated budget cuts at the school.

Specifically, we’re referring to a recent decision by the S.C. House of Representatives to cut $52,000 from the school’s budget in protest of its pro-gay required reading program.

“Out of one side of your mouth you demand that we fund your school and many of your educations, yet, out of another side of your mouth, you demand we stay out of your school and your education,” Goldfinch wrote in an email to the school’s student vice president, Chris Piedmont. “I have a simple solution for you: Ask your school to go private. At that point, you can require obscene pornographic mandatory reading without any intervention from the people who fund your school now.”


Unfortunately, Goldfinch’s email isn’t a serious privatization proposal … it’s an effort to make the College of Charleston swallow the General Assembly’s ideological orientation.

You know, just like powerful lawmakers are trying to dictate the selection of the school’s next president … 

As we’ve stated on numerous prior occasions, taxpayers should not subsidize the propagandizing of any sexual orientation. At any government entity. We believe colleges and universities should be free to offer such courses, but they – like all higher ed institutions – should do so within the private marketplace.

“Higher education” in South Carolina continues to veer radically to the left – in its social views but more importantly in its speculative investment in “economic development.” The result is more expensive – yet less valuable – degrees.

Of course the state’s ridiculously large network of 33 state-supported schools (which includes more than eighty different campus locations) is able to stay afloat despite such diminishing returns because it gets billions of tax dollars each year.

It’s time – past time, actually – to turn these institutions loose and let then fend for themselves in the marketplace.

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jimlewisowb March 13, 2014 at 9:21 am

If there is one person who is qualified to chastise another for speaking with a forked tongue, it is Bronzebuzzard

well-i-am into it March 16, 2014 at 11:45 am

So true. How anybody in the legislature is even comfortable with Goldfinch continuing in office (after his indictment and civil case) is beyond me. And him talking about integrity and obscenity (as if he is a god-sent angel) is disgusting to say the least, and outright insulting to all of us.

Smirks March 13, 2014 at 9:24 am

Might as well make them private institutions, that way they can just switch to the for-profit model of extracting as much wealth as humanly possible from students via financial aid and student loans. Lord knows what this state needs is to reduce future high school grads to impoverished indentured servants if they ever want to go to something other than a community college.

The LAST thing we need is to grow some fucking balls and force these universities to scale back spending, fund them properly, and guarantee our future generations affordable higher education, therefore making SC much more valuable in the marketplace and improving our capabilities of attracting jobs. Heavens no, why would we want state government and public learning institutions to do their damn jobs? Makes no sense at all.

Jackie Chiles March 13, 2014 at 9:56 am

Exactly. Increasing South Carolina college graduates’ student loan debt levels will not be a recipe for future success. Honestly, South Carolina should consider a plan similar to that of Oregon where you pay no tuition for state schools, if you’re accepted, but you pay 5% of your income for the next 20 years.

CL March 13, 2014 at 10:02 am

I like the idea of the school having to cosign on your student loans.

SCBlueWoman March 13, 2014 at 10:23 am

Schools are currently held responsible for those who default on Student Loans.

Really? March 13, 2014 at 10:25 am

How are they held responsible?

SCBlueWoman March 13, 2014 at 11:17 am

Effective this year the financial aid/loans that the colleges can award can be reduced or eliminated, depending on the student default rates. New regulations for FY14.

Jackie Chiles March 13, 2014 at 11:26 am

From my understanding, that was just a proposal and has never been enacted into law.

SCBlueWoman March 13, 2014 at 12:05 pm

It’s new regs from the department of Ed.

SCBlueWoman March 13, 2014 at 12:07 pm
Jackie Chiles March 13, 2014 at 2:19 pm

I see nothing about student loan defaults, or 23.9%, or 30% or 2014. I’m not sure where you’re seeing that language in those regulations.

Squishy123 March 13, 2014 at 11:17 am

How’s that working out? Benedict College has an extremely high default rate yet I bet 99.999% of their student body can get student loans.

SCBlueWoman March 13, 2014 at 11:19 am

Their default is 23.9% they lose all aid at 30% and aid is cut before reaching 30%. Effective FY14 (federal), which starts oct. 1.

SCBlueWoman March 13, 2014 at 11:38 am
CL March 13, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Where has this been adopted as an interim rule? The CFR link you provided is a proposal from 2006. It does not appear to contain the terms default or gainful employment, which was the mechanism the proposed rule from last year used to implement the change you describe above.

Jackie Chiles March 13, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Also, if it was changed by the DOE then why are Senate Democrats proposing the exact same thing as a law in 2013/2014?

Jackie Chiles March 13, 2014 at 11:54 am

Where has this been passed into a law or been enacted by a federal agency?

Squishy123 March 13, 2014 at 12:38 pm

So basically you have to have a default rate of 1:3 before they do anything. How about a more practical idea and if your default rate is 23.9%, your student loan money gets reduced by 23.9%.

SCBlueWoman March 13, 2014 at 12:56 pm

It’s not just student loans that they lose. They lose all federal aid, which in effect will cause schools to close. These Private schools are the ones with the most debt default. They start losing funding before they hit the 1:3 ratio.

Jackie Chiles March 13, 2014 at 10:24 am

Excellent idea. Would at least require schools to have some skin in the game of ensuring its students can pay back the loans.

Squishy123 March 13, 2014 at 11:15 am

Not a bad idea, but I believe you’d see a reduction in the number of butts in seats if they only accepted those who were viewed as college material.

Squishy123 March 13, 2014 at 10:05 am

You do realize that at the current level the state legislature only contributes about 5% of the universities budgets. Yet they want to maintain the same level of control as when they were contributing 30+%. The universities have seen larger cuts over the past several years than what the state actually contributes today.

I'm surprised March 13, 2014 at 10:24 am

If what you say is true, I’m very surprised all the university admins bitching and moaning about legislative diktat’s haven’t taken the schools completely private rather than deal with the hassles of kowtowing for 5%.

Squishy123 March 13, 2014 at 11:14 am

You go private, things like property tax exemption goes away. Any idea of what the property taxes just for the Columbia campus would be?

I'm surprised March 13, 2014 at 11:43 am

Nope….but maybe they could get a sweet FILOT deal by paying of some of the right people.


Also, if OWB is right below than the retirement system thing is a huge nut as well…so while 5% technically might the the dollars flowing in…when you account for property taxes and the retirement system(healthcare too?) the actual subsidization amounts are HUGE.

That being the case, the university’s should just shut their mouths.

kateinsc March 13, 2014 at 2:31 pm

That’s really not possible. The cost for any of the colleges going private would cost them 10’s of millions to purchase the property from SC.

Halfvast Conspirator March 13, 2014 at 10:37 am

MUSC is 3%

west_rhino March 13, 2014 at 11:20 am

That could greatly benefit USC, where being proximal enough to be hit by a rock thrown from statehouse grounds has long handicapped that venereal(sic) institution. ‘course that also would cut into pay for board positions (as a late real estate developer was said to have offered, “I can buy that seat anytime I want to”)
Money saving too, as SC State could well find it has to be more responsible with its funds, non?

vicupstate March 13, 2014 at 9:28 am

Given how little the state actually funds some universities, it is amazing that one of them doesn’t go private. The thing would be, would the state let them, without making them pay top dollar for every building and sidewalk to break away.

CNSYD March 13, 2014 at 9:39 am

Years ago, the state institutions of higher learning were termed as “state supported”. Now days they are termed as “state assisted” due to the level of drop in state support. Our northern and southern neighbors have increased the support of their colleges and universities while we have diminished ours.

Squishy123 March 13, 2014 at 10:01 am

As little as the state pays these public universities, there wouldn’t be much loss if the did go private. The biggest issue would be property taxes, since they currently are exempt.

CL March 13, 2014 at 10:12 am

I doubt taxes would be an issue. They would incorporate as a non-profit corporation. Property of a college or university is exempt from property taxes under SC law unless it generates profits that are put to private use.

jimlewisowb March 13, 2014 at 10:49 am

Do believe that all employees of these universities are members of the State Retirement System and would venture that most of the employees are also enrolled in the State Insurance Health Plan both of which are funded in large part by taxpayers

Doubt if any of these universities want to pick up either one of these costs

Squishy123 March 13, 2014 at 11:21 am

All classified employees (otherwise known as full-time staff) are part of the state retirement system. Faculty, administrators and part-time employees are not required to be part of the state retirement system and have other options available to them.

Lexington Medical, Palmetto Health, every county and city employee in the state are part of the state retirement system, are taxpayers funding their retirement too?

jimlewisowb March 13, 2014 at 11:45 am

I doubt that many faculty and administrators have turned down the deal that the State Retirement offers.

Part time employees are not required to be members because they are not eligible to be members – only full time employees

As for your last question the answer is Yes unless Lexington County is selling oranges over at the flea market they are getting their money from taxpayers like me to pay not only the employer’s share but also to pay the employee’s salary

Squishy123 March 13, 2014 at 12:46 pm

I don’t know how many college faculty and administrators you know, but I’m employed by USC and I don’t know one faculty member who is vested in the SC retirement system. They have programs like 401K or AIG VALIC accounts. Faculty don’t expect to be here for 28-30 years so they put it in some other fund that can be transferred more easily.

So how much are you contributing? Classified state employees contribute 8% of their gross income to the retirement system, I’d be interested to know what the non-state employee’s contribution is to the state retirement system.

Fabulous Fun Frolics Events March 13, 2014 at 10:52 am

Glenn: I have some fabulous over the top ideas for your inaugural month long celebration. We can’t wait. Please call me.

Point of Order March 13, 2014 at 11:38 am

You neglected to mention that is wife, Renee, is off-the-hook hot.

Touchin' Myself March 13, 2014 at 11:45 am

That one has already been beat to death, both literally and proverbially for some of us.

hesellsstemcellsbytheseashore March 13, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Damn, Stephen Goldfinch is an even bigger douchebag than I thought.

John Dozier March 13, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Mr. Goldfinch is apparently not just a crook, but an arrogant, bigoted, facist, crook. He is an idiot when it comes to higher education financing. If you believe that society in general benefits from HE, then society has an obligation to help fund it. If you believe that only the individual benefits, then by all means privatize so that only the wealthy can then benefit as you will see costs skyrocket.

Boning Mrs. Goldfinch March 13, 2014 at 12:59 pm

“then by all means privatize so that only the wealthy can then benefit as you will see costs skyrocket.”

I know that people have lost faith in the free market to bring costs down, but perhaps if we could only consider that there isn’t really many spots left where such a market runs in our estimation of whether it does that or not before giving up on it…

I agree Goldfinch is a turd though regardless of the rest…

Tummy Enema March 13, 2014 at 2:23 pm


well-i-am into it March 16, 2014 at 11:08 am

Our children must be provided with a protected environment where they can learn and grow without the fear or interference from politicians or their ‘”constituents”. Funding from the state government does not mean the institutions (or the students and faculty)
should surrender to the legislature’s whims and fancies. Great job
Chris Piedmont, keep it up.

It’s Goldfinch in action again!! Goldfinch first campaigns for merger of a private CSOL with CofC, and now wants CofC to ‘go private’??? What the hell. My head is spinning…

colinkerr March 17, 2014 at 8:56 am

Just a point of clarification. There was no “pro-gay required reading program” at the College of Charleston. All freshman received the book in question, but they were not required to read it en masse. Regarding the alleged pro-gay content, the book’s central character and her father were gay. As a memoir, it was sympathetic to the central character, though it hardly functioned as a pro-gay apologetic. It was actually very critical on the gay father, who essentially acted as the villain of the book.


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