With Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell's contract still unsigned, student opponents are hoping there's still time to stop him from stepping into the president's post at the College of Charleston.
The school's Foundation Board's Executive Committee met Friday to begin discussing how much it will contribute to McConnell's salary, which is an essential element of the contract. But the group made no decisions after meeting behind closed doors for more than two hours.
McConnell is expected to take the reins July 1.
Foundation Board Chairwoman Sharon Kingman said the group had "an excellent dialogue." McConnell's salary likely will be on the agenda for the full board's May 16 meeting, she said. The group's Executive Committee might meet again before then to continue discussing the issue, Kingman said, but a second meeting currently isn't scheduled.
While it remains unclear how much McConnell will make, an online petition is circulating calling for the foundation to contribute only $1 to McConnell's salary.
The salaries of many presidents of the state's public colleges and universities are comprised of a portion from the state and a contribution from the schools' foundations.
George Benson, the college's current president, earns $379,000, with $179,000 coming from the state and $200,000 coming from the foundation.
The state recently agreed to pay McConnell $188,000.
The College of Charleston Foundation is a nonprofit organization that raises money and promotes education and research programs. The college's Board of Trustees is the governing body of the school.
At the Foundation Board's February meeting, several members said the college's Board of Trustees should select the school's next president from among the five candidates recommended by a presidential search committee.
Sources with close ties to the search process have said McConnell was not among the 15-member committee's five recommended candidates.
A member of that board said the Board of Trustees should pay back to the foundation the estimated $100,000 spent on the search.
Meanwhile, College of Charleston students continued protesting Friday on the downtown campus against the Board of Trustees hiring of McConnell.
Students have said that the career politician has no academic experience, and that his support of flying the Confederate battle flag on Statehouse grounds would make it harder for the school to recruit minority students. They also have said they are disappointed with the search process and the Board of Trustees.
College of Charleston junior Matt Rabon said he wants the foundation to make a statement by offering little to McConnell's salary. He has launched a petition on the website Change.org, calling for the foundation to contribute only $1 per year. About 600 people have signed the petition so far.
Rabon said many students continue to be strongly opposed to McConnell being hired. "Our goal is to stop Glenn McConnell from being president," he said.
But they also want the college's Board of Trustees to open up about the presidential search process. Many students think board members succumbed to pressure from state lawmakers when they hired McConnell on March 22.
The students also would like to see reforms put in place that would limit lawmakers influence over trustees, he said.
Reach Diane Knich at 843-937-5491 or on Twitter at @dianeknich.