No oversight — except when it affects the overseers


By Robert Ariail and Ashley Landess | The Nerve

Does anyone outside the State House think legislators should choose a university president? I doubt most people know that’s essentially what happens in our state, at least when it suits the legislature to do so. Like most functions of South Carolina state government, lawmakers in Columbia have ultimate authority over the governance of state universities because they elect the trustees who govern them.

State-funded schools certainly need some oversight and accountability, but that is precisely what the legislature doesn’t provide. For years these schools have been raising tuition at a dizzying pace, duplicating low-demand programs, and vastly expanding their facilities in an irresponsible effort to “compete” against each other for prestige. And the legislature has done nothing to stop it. In 2010, when the College of Charleston raised tuition by 14.8 percent in a single year, it took the Budget and Control Board to threaten a moratorium on new construction to get the school to reduce that increase to 7 percent. The legislature itself did nothing.

at The Nerve.