[image-1]Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell has a lot of fans in Charleston, but the NAACP’s Dot Scott isn’t one of them. In fact, Scott believes that as a Confederate flag supporter McConnell is not fit to become the next College of Charleston president, a position the Holy City politician has his eyes on.
“You can’t send a mixed message that we are concerned about diversity, we are trying to recruit minorities, we are doing the kinds of things that our college should be doing in Charleston in terms of making sure there is diversity at the school, and yet consider seriously hiring someone [like McConnell],” she says, noting that the lieutenant governor creates an “image problem” for CofC.
Last week, Scott had considered holding a press conference protesting McConnell, who is both a Confederate reenactor and a champion of flying the Confederate flag on Statehouse grounds. But after a series of talks with the state and national branches of the NAACP, the three chapters decided they would hold off until their members could meet with CofC’s 20-member Board of Trustees, the body who will select the next president out of a list of more than 100 applicants. The NAACP gave the board until Jan. 24 to respond.
As of Jan. 22, according to discussions she’s had with national leadership, the board had not responded, Scott said today. “If we are going to be having a press conference about a decision we suspect the board is going to make, we owed it to the board to have a discussion with them,” Scott says. “It would be prudent for us to at least ask for the opportunity to have that discussion. We’ll see how that goes.”
If the NAACP doesn’t hear back by Fri. Jan. 24, Scott says, they’ll go forward with a news conference next week.
“The press conference will pretty much state our opposition for his appointment hiring at the college,” Scott says. “We’ve always opposed the flying of the Confederate flag. It shows an insensitivity to minorities … We have absolutely no other qualms … the flag issue is the only issue that we’re debating around the selection.”
McConnell, a Republican, served in the General Assembly for 30 years and rose to the position of Senate President Pro Tem, making him the most powerful politician in Columbia. In his bid for the CofC president post, he is backed by much of the Charleston legislative delegation — people whom board members likely listen to — from both the Republican and Democratic parties. Toward the end of last year, Post & Courier columnist Brian Hicks wrote a defense of McConnell, saying that efforts to stereotype him as racially insensitive are unfair.