Members of the Medical University of South Carolina Faculty Senate called MUSC and the College of Charleston "two different worlds" and "totally separate cultures" on Tuesday, then unanimously passed a resolution opposing proposed state legislation that would merge the schools.
Faculty Senate President Tom Smith said 65 to 70 percent of the faculty members said they disagree or strongly disagree with a basic merger, according to early results of an online survey that was sent to faculty Monday night.
Smith said 250 faculty members responded to the survey in the first 10 hours. There are approximately 1,500 full- and part-time faculty at MUSC.
Additional feedback Smith received indicated that MUSC's faculty largely opposes the plan. "There were a couple of folks that were supportive of it," he said, but they indicated that any merger should be paid for with state funds.
A group of state lawmakers filed a bill in the S.C. House of Representatives last week that would merge the College of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina by July 1, 2016.
While the idea has support from several influential leaders and groups, including Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, and the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, faculty at both schools have expressed concerns about the plan.
"There's a great deal of fear on (the College of Charleston) campus," said David Morrisette, an MUSC faculty member, at the Faculty Senate meeting.
Morrisette attended a similar forum of faculty members at the College of Charleston on Monday.
"In fact, I think there's more fear on that campus than there is on this campus," he said.
The bill to merge the schools won't come up for a vote in the General Assembly immediately. It has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee for consideration. The S.C. House of Representatives, the S.C. Senate and Gov. Nikki Haley must approve the proposal before the merger could move forward.
The MUSC Board of Trustees is expected to discuss the bill during its meeting on Thursday.
Reach Lauren Sausser at 937-5598.
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