University of South Carolina President Resigns After Speech Blunders


Nearly every week in the past, college students graduating on the University of South Carolina heard their president, Robert Caslen, a retired Army lieutenant basic, give a graduation speech about how they’d prevailed throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Since then, General Caslen’s phrases on the ceremony on May 7, meant to encourage, have drawn accusations of plagiarism and confusion over his mistakenly naming the fallacious college. On Wednesday, General Caslen resigned.

“I am sorry to those I have let down,” General Caslen wrote in an electronic mail to college students, the college and the employees asserting his resignation, efficient on Thursday. “I understand the responsibilities and higher standards of senior level leadership. When those are not met, trust is lost. And when trust is lost, one is unable to lead.”

In an apology emailed to the college group on Monday, General Caslen admitted to utilizing a widely known citation in his handle to the graduates of the University of South Carolina from a 2014 graduation speech made by retired Adm. William H. McRaven on the University of Texas at Austin.

Admiral McRaven oversaw the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. He was additionally the chancellor of the University of Texas System and is the creator of “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life … and Maybe the World,” which was No. 1 on the New York Times best-selling list on recommendation and how-tos for 2 weeks. He wrote the e-book after his 2014 graduation speech turned in style.

General Caslen gave Admiral McRaven’s parting words to the graduates on Friday night and not using a quotation.

“A few last words to the graduates,” General Caslen mentioned. “Know that life is not fair, and if you’re like me, you’ll fail often. But if you take some risks, step up when times are toughest, face down the cowardly bullies and lift up the downtrodden, and never, never give up — if you do those things, the next generation and the generations to follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today. And what started here, today, will indeed change the world for the better.”

After he requested the graduates to maneuver their tassels from the appropriate aspect of their caps to the left, General Caslen mistakenly proclaimed, “It’s now my honor and privilege to officially congratulate you as the newest alumni from the University of California.”

Attempts to achieve General Caslen by telephone and electronic mail on Thursday night, had been unsuccessful.

In an electronic mail despatched on Monday, General Caslen apologized to Admiral McRaven, “someone I know and respect.”

“I was searching for words about resilience in adversity and when they were transcribed into the speech, I failed to ensure its attribution,” General Caslen wrote. “I take full responsibility for this oversight.”

In an announcement despatched to The New York Times on Thursday night, Admiral McRaven mentioned that General Caslen was “one of the finest and most honorable officers I have ever served with,” and mentioned he felt an apology from General Caslen wasn’t wanted.

“I was flattered that he thought my words were of some value to the graduating students,” Admiral McRaven mentioned in an announcement.

“Honorable men and women make mistakes,” he added. “It doesn’t make them less honorable. It just makes them human. I was terribly sorry to hear that he resigned. It is a loss for U.S.C.”

Dr. Charlie Dorn Smith III, the chairman of the University of South Carolina’s board of trustees, had mentioned the fallout from General Caslen’s speech and “potential contingencies” with particular person trustees, based on an announcement from the college on Thursday. The board didn’t maintain a gathering or vote on General Caslen’s resignation or the appointment of an interim president.

“President Caslen informed Chairman Smith of his decision to resign,” the assertion from the college mentioned. “No vote was necessary to accept Caslen’s decision, and it is the president’s right to end his employment with the university.”

General Caslen, 67, was the University of South Carolina’s 29th president and the previous superintendent and president of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, based on his archived university biography.

The board of trustees voted to make General Caslen the president in 2019, however some had concerns. The college’s college senate unanimously voted “no confidence” in General Caslen’s candidacy and mentioned he didn’t meet the necessities of the previous board chairman John C. von Lehe Jr.

“This was not an indictment of his character or his distinguished service,” Marco Valtorta, the previous chair of the college senate, mentioned at a gathering about General Caslen’s candidacy in July 2019. “It was a reflection, above all, that rich though his military experience has been, it does not meet the high requirements set by Chairman von Lehe in his charge.”

Last month, General Caslen confronted extra controversy when he took “full responsibility” for not acknowledging the demise of the mom of Darla Moore, the college’s largest donor, rapidly sufficient, based on The Post and Courier of Columbia, S.C.

General Caslen was changed Thursday by Harris Pastides, who will function interim president as soon as accepted by the board and till the college is finished conducting a nationwide seek for its subsequent president. He served because the 28th college president from 2008 till his retirement in 2019, when General Caslen took over.



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