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University of South Carolina's board votes to make retired Army Gen. Robert Caslen the new president at the USC Alumni Center Friday July 19, 2019, in Columbia. file/Gavin McIntyre/Staff

 

Our state government’s influence on USC’s Board of Trustees should be proportional to the amount of funding the government supplies.

Like many of our nominally public universities, USC finds itself in a precarious position.

The university is a state agency with a public service mission.

Unfortunately, however, taxpayers have elected representatives disinclined to fund that mission. The state Legislature currently provides about 10% of the university’s budget.

The same Legislature responsible for this paltry allocation has supported a board of trustees that easily succumbs to partisan pressure.

This is the only way to explain the board’s defiance of clear statements by students, alumni and faculty in the recent presidential search.

A majority of the board has lost touch with the institution’s key stakeholders and simply doesn’t care; those trustees’ allegiances lie elsewhere.

Even if the school manages to scrape by with its accreditation intact, this is a recipe for disaster. Why should the university be held hostage to a Legislature that refuses to pay its bills?

We need a board that is responsive to people who value the university highly enough to pay for it.

Today, that would be mainly students and alumni. Faculty researchers also play a key role by securing the institution’s reputation and its grant funding.

A bill working its way through the Legislature envisions a 12-member board.

With representation proportional to funding, the Legislature would have one seat.

Let students, alumni and faculty elect the rest.

TED WACHTER

Duncan Street

Columbia

A heart to help

I would like to thank Maura Hogan for mentioning our nonprofit, I Heart Hungry Kids, in her Aug. 11 Post and Courier article about the rise of art in hotels.

Our collaboration with Robert Lange Studios and the Vendue Hotel raised more than $16,000 to beat child hunger. We are grateful for the support of both our creative and hospitality industries.

I want to expand on our mission and programs. My brothers Gabe, Riley and I founded I Heart Hungry Kids in 2013 to empower kids to beat hunger in our community.

Through hands-on service, advocacy and teamwork, our youth volunteers, ages 5-15, have donated more than 300,000 meals for local kids in need. We partner with the Lowcountry Food Bank through its Backpack Buddies program.

We organize kid-led canned-food drives that collect thousands of pounds of food that benefits local food pantries and blessing boxes.

We partner with Katie’s Krops and grow our school garden, with the produce donated to a local outreach center.

We combat school lunch debt and lunch shaming through a collaborative initiative called Catch Up On Lunch that paid off more than $20,000 in debt at four tri-county schools in June.

By providing kid-powered programs that make a meaningful difference in hunger issues here at home, more than 5,000 youth volunteers have become a positive force in our community.

We encourage all kids to learn more and sign up to volunteer at www.ihearthungrykids.org because kids helping kids is how we change our world.

JACKSON SILVERMAN

Founder, I Heart

Hungry Kids

Harbor Trace Circle

Charleston

MUSC programs

On Aug. 31, all children’s programs at MUSC Wellness Center will be canceled. For many years, the center has offered swim lessons/coaching, family swim, a nursery and camps.

The facility is secure, clean and well-maintained with an indoor pool, which has numerous lanes for lap swimming and a generous area for other aquatic activities.

MUSC to end all youth programs at Wellness Center

This summer, more than 200 kids took swim lessons.

These lessons and family swim time save lives, promote health, benefit families and are fun.

Parents pay additional fees for all the programs, and the kids camps generate substantial revenue for the Wellness Center, we were told by the director.

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The leadership cites security for canceling kids programs, though the director told us they have a perfect record.

A petition to save the programs on change.org already has 500 signatures. The center is subsidized with tax dollars through MUSC, an institution that prides itself on children’s care.

Retaining the children’s programs is in keeping with the mission statement, which is displayed throughout the facility.

MUSC President David Cole and center leadership, please save the children’s programs at the Wellness Center.

GERRY and ELLERY SCHAUER

Menotti Street

Charleston

Free speech

President Donald Trump recently signed an executive order requiring U.S. colleges to protect free speech on campus or risk losing federal research funding.

This order was endorsed

by people who say universities are fostering an unbalanced, liberal view of the world.

State Sens. Larry Grooms and Chip Campsen have introduced legislation (The Campus Free Expression Act, S.3033) that expands President Trump’s order to provide that any person wishing to engage in expressive activity on campus be permitted to do so.

This bill deserves legislative approval because campus freedom of speech is now suppressed, not so much by omission but by lack of invitation.

Restrictions on free speech, however contrived, amount to state censorship by public colleges.

Restricting the speech of nonconforming conservative speakers acts as a quick fix to impose campus conformity and avoid unrest.

The Grooms-Campsen bill deserves special consideration as it preserves the intellectual viability of education. The bill should be passed.

DON BELK

Twin Oaks Lane

Isle of Palms

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