IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS, BABY …
Much ado has been made about students at the College of Charleston protesting the controversial hiring of S.C. Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell as the school’s next president.
Of course the real problem with the College of Charleston hiring McConnell is the negative impact it will have on enrollment – and fundraising. And not just because McConnell is a national embarrassment.
No, we’re referring to homegrown dissent … the kind that can cripple an institution.
McConnell’s candidacy – pushed by powerful state lawmakers – was overwhelmingly opposed by sizable majorities of the College of Charleston’s foundation and alumni boards. Why does that matter? Because the school’s foundation is in the midst of a major capital campaign – and is banking (literally) on enhanced alumni participation to bring it to a successful conclusion.
According to our sources, the school is seeking to raise $125 million in its current campaign – of which it has currently raised roughly 40 percent (around $51 million).
In addition to spooking big out-of-state donors, McConnell’s selection – made over the near-unanimous objections of both of these boards – threatens to further erode the College of Charleston’s already weak alumni giving.
Of the $51 million raised thus far, only 30 percent – roughly $15.2 million – has come from alumni. Compounding the problem, less than 10 percent of College of Charleston alumni donate to the school.
Bad, right? Right … and McConnell’s selection as president could drive both of these already weak numbers down even further.
McConnell supporters argue he will wind up being a financial windfall for the institution – although as you might expect they are referring to an expanded taxpayer commitment. In fact McConnell and his allies have big plans to remake the College of Charleston into another “research institution,” which is code for pouring millions of dollars down the drain on all sorts of dubious speculative investments that weren’t good enough to get funded by the private sector.
For shame …
South Carolina already spends way too much money on its bloated system of higher education. Expanding this exorbitant financial commitment in order to subsidize additional “economic development” scams is the very last thing taxpayers should be forced to do.
But that’s precisely McConnell’s vision for the school … that, and drying up its private resources.