Students opposed to Board of Trustees stage campus wide walk out

Students assemble on the Cistern to protest the Board of Trustees (Photo courtesy of Ashley Sprouse).

Students assembled on the Cistern to protest the Board of Trustees (Photo courtesy of Ashley Sprouse).

On March 28, students protested for the third time this week in opposition to the Board of Trustees’ decision to make Glenn McConnell the next president of the College of Charleston. Protesters walked out of class at 1:15 p.m. to convene in the Cistern, chanting, “Hey hey! Ho ho! Glenn McConnell has got go!” and “CofC belongs to me – not to you B.O.T.!”

Junior Kelly Ferri has attended all three organized protests this week because she believes the Board of Trustees did not make the right choice for CofC’s next president. In reference to the proposed budget cuts based on the College Reads! selection Fun Home, a novel that contains narrative on homosexuality, Ferri said, “People are saying that Glenn McConnell can get us all of this money, but as a lesbian student, why do I care if it isn’t going to fund things that don’t represent me as a student?”

Students like Ferri are able to voice their opinions at protests because of people like junior Matt Rabon. Rabon helped organize the walk out by reaching out to students through social media. On Facebook over a thousand people where invited to the walk out.

While the walk out interrupted classes, Rabon said that his interaction with professors thus far has been positive. “The faculty are in a delicate position,” Rabon said while explaining that the president of the College has the power to hire, fire or grant tenure and speaking out against the Board of Trustees may not be the wisest decision for faculty and staff.

Although a counter-protestor waving a Confederate flag emphasized his support of McConnell’s Confederate reenactments, Ferri and others continually reiterate that his support of the Confederacy, although it initially caused outrage, is no longer the main issue at hand. “I am especially upset at the ignorance. It’s not that a bunch of minorities are screaming race instead it’s a bunch of students screaming injustice,” she said.

Rabon agreed that the focus of the protest is on the Board of Trustees’ decision. “We feel like it’s a shady background deal,” Rabon said. “They will not give us a yes or no answer as to whether they inserted McConnell’s name in the pool [of presidential finalists].”

Sophomore Max Nielson, along with other students, has the same focus. “I just don’t feel like students should have as little amount of decision,” Nielson said. “That just doesn’t seem right.”

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