When Senate leader John Courson, R-Columbia, sought to hold up a bill that would allow for a newly-expanded University of Charleston - something state leaders hope will be a game changer for the College of Charleston, where it will be housed -- he said the issue needed full vetting in front of the Senate Education Committee, which he chairs.

The committee is scheduled to meet this morning at 10 am - but the University of Charleston bill isn't on the agenda.

Normally, bills have to be vetted by committees. But the Senate voted last week to make an exception for the U of C bill, over Courson's objection, and place it on the full Senate schedule. Sens. Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, and Larry Grooms, R-Charleston, also said that eight-figure donations were a part of the mix, as donors await word whether the bill that would establish the university becomes a reality. If the legislation passes, the university would have a designation as a comprehensive research university. It would offer graduate and post-graduate programs tied to South Carolina's business needs.

Senators are expected to push the issue Wednesday, although some may object to the fact that the bill hasn't been heard by the Education Committee.

"It allows the college to chart its own future," Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, the incoming president of the college, said of the matter. "We can shape the future instead of being shaped by it."

The bill has already passed the S.C. House and has been awaiting an airing in the S.C. Senate.


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