Why did the former USC quit the presidential research group?


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Lou Kennedy is CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation in British Columbia.

I remember being accepted into the University of South Carolina.

The pride that accompanied the letter of acceptance arose from the sacrifices my family made to provide me with this life-changing opportunity. Over the decades that followed, I was proud to join my husband in providing the university with unconditional support as fans and contributors.

Caroline is at home. Until two weeks ago.

Let me tell you what happened.

Earlier this year, I was asked to be an advisory member of the Presidential Research Committee.

This represented a unique opportunity for Caroline’s community – and which includes board members – to seize the chance to consider candidates for this vital role, who reflect the diversity – of ideas, experience and background. training – which makes our state and our university great.

More than that, it was an opportunity for the search committee to restore confidence in the selection and governance processes, both undermined by the actions of some trustees over the past two years.

My sincere desire was to complete my service and recommend to the Board a strong and diverse slate of candidates.

But, unfortunately, based on how the Chairman of the Board referred to my presence as “courtesy” in front of all my colleagues, I decided that I couldn’t finish.

I resigned.

The way he behaved was an unwelcome and totally unprofessional throwback.

To be honest, as the president waved his finger at me, I felt the solution could be found: the president could wield disproportionate power to select whoever he wanted and keep the university in the same rut as she seems to find time and time again.

So for me it was the perfect opportunity to consider where we are and where we are going from here.

Let’s look at the story.

The laws and rules surrounding board governance are archaic. It’s time to give them a thoughtful and careful look.

There is no doubt that we have made governance adjustments following the integration of the previous president.

But now is the time to work with the legislature to understand what they – and Reform members of the Carolina community – can do to define this council not by popularity, seniority, legislative ties, and length of life.

Instead, we need a board known for its new faces, fresh ideas, and most importantly, its merit in serving.

Members should boast of their achievements in research and the private sector, as well as in life, and possess the ability to bring innovative and creative ideas from all professions to the board.

One of the best initiatives the board could undertake is to meet students and faculty directly on their own grounds.

The board should involve them regularly in their concerns and their vision of the university.

Meeting them on their own grounds doesn’t just mean having formal forums at town hall where people feel delayed by what they can say; it means having a board that knows the use of contemporary forms of communication, such as Twitter, SnapChat, and Instagram.

While my experience on the committee has been a setback, I am optimistic about the future of our state to do the right thing – especially by the students we depend on to be future leaders – and in that context, j I look forward to working with anyone who would like to chart a meteoric path for college and make college a place I’m proud to call home again.

Lou Kennedy is CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation in British Columbia.


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