Demystifying the “Charleston University Act”

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The proposed bill H. 4632 aims to merge CofC and MUSC by July 1, 2016. (Photo by Erin Dempsey)

On Feb. 6, 2014, legislators introduced the “Charleston University Act” to the S.C. House of Representatives. The bill proposes a merge of the College of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina, to create a “full-scale comprehensive research university.”

In these preliminary stages, the most important step for students, faculty and administration to take is self-education. Members of the college community must be aware of exactly what is on the table in order to make valuable and calculated steps toward the best outcome for both institutions.

A source of apprehension for many stakeholders is the College’s potential name change detailed in the bill, H. 4632. While these surface details are negotiable, engrained values, cultures and traditions that could be affected at both institutions should the bill pass are difficult to change. In order to make an informed decision, we at CYN urge students to make themselves aware of the bill’s components and implications. Good or bad, current facts are a launch pad for future discussion, growth and prosperity for both institutions and their constituents.

With that said, find below a simplified review of what H. 4632, entails.

  • The bill calls for the merging of the College of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina, including the MUSC Hospital Authority, into one state-supported institution. This merger must occur at the determination of a board of trustees before July 1, 2016.
  • The former College of Charleston must be known as the “Charleston University George Street Campus” and the former MUSC as the “Charleston University Medical Campus.”
  • Merger would effectuate the formation of a full-scale comprehensive research university aimed at meeting the expertise demanded by Charleston’s thriving economy.
  • Before July 15, 2014, the established Charleston University board of trustees must meet to appoint officers, adopt bylaws, and begin development of a merger plan.
  • The board will appoint a single president of Charleston University. George Street Campus and the Medical Campus will each have a chancellor.
  • A comprehensive report concerning the most efficient and effective recommendations for merger must be submitted to the Governor and General Assembly before July 1, 2015.
  • The bill looks to ensure five areas of organizational concern:
  1. Cultures of both the College of Charleston and MUSC are forever protected.
  2. Current academic and clinical reputations are preserved.
  3. Clear separation exists between the MUSC Hospital Authority and the greater institution.
  4. A budgeting process addresses Charleston University through at least two separate budget programs: medical education and undergraduate education.
  5. All financial and legal contracts are maintained by each institution.

Fore more information, please attend the State of the Student Body Address on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 5 p.m. in Alumni Hall and the Student Open Forum on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in Alumni Hall.

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