Commencement Address Was University President's Downfall

University of South Carolina president Bob Caslen resigns after plagiarism allegations
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 13, 2021 4:58 AM CDT
Updated May 13, 2021 6:39 AM CDT

(Newser) – The embattled president of the University of South Carolina resigned on Wednesday, days after he delivered a commencement address marred by allegations of plagiarism and a misidentification of the school itself. In a news release, the school announced that the chairman of its board of trustees had accepted Bob Caslen's resignation, thanking him for his service. The board last weekend refused Caslen's verbal resignation offer. It came as Caslen acknowledged taking two paragraphs without attribution from a speech by Adm. William McRaven, the Navy SEAL in charge of the mission to take out terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, the AP reports. Caslen, who delivered the address to graduates on Friday, had called that an oversight.

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Caslen also referred to the school as the “University of California” during his remarks. After gasps from the crowd, he said, "Sorry about that, I owe you push-ups," per CNN. He apologized Wednesday in a note to the school’s faculty, staff, and students, saying that "when trust is lost, one is unable to lead." Caslen’s rise to the presidency in 2019 had been met with criticism. Student and faculty leaders opposed the retired general and US Military Academy superintendent, arguing he lacked qualifications, such as a doctoral degree or university research experience, and knew little about the school. Harris Pastides, Caslen's immediate predecessor who led the system for 11 years, will now serve on an interim basis during a search for a permanent replacement, officials said.

(Read more University of South Carolina stories.)

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