In 2012 the Board of Trustees for the College of Charleston adopted a Diversity Strategic Plan, the first-ever in the college’s history.
The goal of the plan was to consciously address what the college referred to as “diversity challenges,” which are prevalent on the current-day campus and sprinkled throughout the college’s past. The challenges were acknowledged by the college in an executive summary of the plan.
The college explains, “… the climate at the College does not effectively welcome all population groups—especially minorities, international students, and members of the LGBTQQAI community.”
“No matter the College’s significant accomplishments in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, our administration in those years has bequeathed to us a disturbing history of racism that lives in the memory of our neighbors. For example, the College first purchased many of the beautiful historic houses that grace our campus today in order to prevent African Americans from living nearby.”
Shortly after this very-open admittance of racial guilt, and stride for change, the college appeared ignorant of their own plan, when the board of trustees chose South Carolina Lt. Governor Glenn McConnell as the college’s new president.
Despite what many saw as a progressive move by the school, the follow-up proved to be just another “diversity challenge” that serves to both detriment and discredit any legitimate movements for campus civility and equality. The reason being that McConnell could easily be referred to as “fanboy” of the Confederacy.
McConnell’s track record speaks for itself. In 1996 he adamantly fought against a proposal by the governor at the time, David Beasley, which called for the removal of the Confederate Flag from the Capitol Dome. McConnell not only fought against the decision, but went as far as equating this proposal to “cultural genocide“. He was ultimately victorious, keeping the flag in place until years later when the NAACP stepped in. Even then, McConnell’s resistance resulted in the flag being moved to a different spot, rather than taken down altogether.
In addition to his active support of flying the Confederate Flag, McConnell swam himself straight into hot water once again when he was photographed as a confederate general, between what appeared to be two black actors dressed as slaves. He defended this photo, declaring that photos like this, and the re-enactment at which it was taken, preserve history.
It doesn’t end there. McConnell is the proud owner of a memorabilia store, which, as this photo demonstrates, contains a wide array of Confederate Flags.
McConnell has no prior experience in higher education to speak of, causing many to blame politics for his appointment. Regardless of the root cause, the school faces a definitive road of hurdles in achieving their goals for diversity with McConnell at the helm. He is proud of support of the Confederacy, and does not apologize for it.