NAACP says McConnell not qualified to run college

James Gallman, national board of directors member for the NAACP, and Dot Scott, president of the NAACP's Charleston branch, talk about Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, who wants to become president of the College of Charleston. (Photo by Ashley Barker)

James Gallman, national board of directors member for the NAACP, and Dot Scott, president of the NAACP's Charleston branch, talk about Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, who wants to become president of the College of Charleston. (Photo by Ashley Barker)

By Ashley Barker
abarker@scbiznews.com
Published March 11, 2014

NAACP leaders said they would work to discourage future students and student-athletes from attending the College of Charleston if the board of trustees hired Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell as the school’s 22nd president.

During a news conference held on the College of Charleston campus Monday, representatives from the national, state and local branch levels of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People spoke against McConnell as approximately 30 supporters stood behind them. They said his “long political career is marked by disrespect and disregard for African Americans and other people of color.”

Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell
Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell
McConnell was named a finalist for the president’s position along with Dennis “Jody” Encarnation, an international business consultant, and Martha D. Saunders, a former president of the University of Southern Mississippi. The college confirmed that at least two candidates, including former White House chief of staff Andrew H. Card Jr., dropped out of the search for undisclosed reasons.

Rev. Nelson B. Rivers III, vice president of stakeholder relations of the NAACP, said McConnell used his political power to get his way when it came to having a Confederate flag placed in a prominent glass case at the State House.

He added McConnell has “proven himself to be intolerant when it comes to hearing and respecting those who don’t share his cherished embrace of the Confederacy and has spent a political career opposing and undermining efforts to achieve modest diversity in state government.”

Rivers also quoted a portion of the college’s presidential search profile.

“The new president should bring to this position a strong desire to collaborate with all campus constituencies in the spirit of shared governance and should demonstrate an unquestioned commitment to strengthen faculty, staff and student diversity,” the search profile says.

He said that statement alone proves McConnell is not qualified to be president.

“So the question is, did the board of trustees change the criteria or were they forced to consider someone who is not qualified? Either way, the answer is Glenn McConnell should not and must not become president of the College of Charleston,” Rivers said.

College of Charleston students and NAACP supporters held signs during the news conference.
College of Charleston students and NAACP supporters held signs during the news conference.
Rev. Joseph Darby, first vice president of the NAACP’s Charleston branch attended a news conference to discuss opposition by NAACP leaders to Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell being named a finalist for College of Charleston president. (Photos by Ashley Barker)
Rev. Joseph Darby, first vice president of the NAACP’s Charleston branch, attended a news conference to discuss opposition by NAACP leaders to Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell being named a finalist for College of Charleston president. (Photos by Ashley Barker)
Rivers said he doesn’t have enough information about the other two remaining finalists to determine if they should be hired.

“If either one of them had a record like Glenn McConnell, we’d be saying the same thing about them. That’s where the board of trustees has a chance to show leadership,” Rivers said. “They have three names, they’ve said. They have a choice to make. We’re simply saying that one choice is so obviously the wrong choice that we don’t know why you’d even think about making it the choice.”

If McConnell is hired, NAACP leaders plan to talk to parents of potential students, student-athletes, musicians and anyone who might consider attending CofC.

“We’re going to ask them questions that we’ve asked today,” said James Gallman, member of the national board of directors of the NAACP. “Who in their right mind wants their child to be involved in a situation like this?”

Rivers said sports recruiters who compete with the college for a black athlete would only need to show a photo of McConnell posing in a Civil War uniform with two African Americans who appear to be slaves to dissuade them from attending CofC. McConnell made national news in 2010 when he was photographed with two black re-enactors during a S.C. Federation of Republican Women event titled “A Southern Experience.”

“If they do make the mistake of making him president, they will be regretful for many days thereafter,” Rivers said.

McConnell did not return messages asking for a comment regarding the NAACP news conference.

Greg Padgett, chair of the college’s board of trustees, released a statement shortly after the NAACP meeting.

He said it would be surprising if there were not differences of opinion about the experience and qualifications of the candidates.

“Each candidate for the position deserves a chance to meet and talk openly with the campus community about his or her qualifications. The campus community in turn deserves the opportunity to hear how each candidate would address the challenges and opportunities that face the College of Charleston in the coming years,” Padgett said in a statement.

He said the selection of the next president will be made with complete knowledge and understanding of that person’s professional qualifications and leadership abilities.

“It is my hope that all parties to this important decision will keep an open mind and listen carefully to each candidate,” Padgett said.

All three finalists are expected to visit the campus later this week. Here is the schedule of open sessions for the candidates, provided by CofC:

Wednesday, March 12
Candidate: Dr. Dennis “Jody” Encarnation
1:30 p.m. Faculty meeting in Alumni Hall

2:45 p.m. Students meeting in the Stern Center Ballroom

4:00 p.m. Non-instructional staff meeting in the Stern Center Ballroom

5:15 p.m. Faculty and staff who were unable to attend the previous afternoon sessions as well as alumni and the public are also welcome to attend the meeting in the Stern Center Ballroom

Thursday, March 13
Candidate: Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell
1:30 p.m. Faculty meeting in Alumni Hall

2:45 p.m. Students meeting in the Stern Center Ballroom

4:00 p.m. Non-instructional staff meeting in the Stern Center Ballroom

5:15 p.m. Faculty and staff who were unable to attend the previous afternoon sessions as well as alumni and the public are also welcome to attend the meeting in the Stern Center Ballroom

Friday, March 14
Candidate: Provost Martha Saunders
1:30 p.m. Faculty meeting in Alumni Hall

2:45 p.m. Students meeting in the Stern Center Ballroom

4:00 p.m. Non-instructional staff meeting in Alumni Hall

5:15 p.m. Faculty and staff who were unable to attend the previous afternoon sessions as well as alumni and the public are also welcome to attend the meeting in the Stern Center Ballroom

Each session is expected to last approximately 45 minutes to an hour, the college said.

Reach Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker.

Ongoing Coverage
Lieutenant governor responds to criticism from NAACP

Email Print

Do you give this article a thumbs up? Thumbs_upYes