Halting On-Campus Construction: Make Your Voice Heard

Below is a message from undergraduate Student Body President Isaiah Nelson regarding Governor Sanford’s proposal to halt construction on all public college campuses in the state. Please read the message and respond to him with your comments on this urgent issue. It is important that graduate students’ voices are a part of this conversation as well. Whether you’re a student or not, you can also email the members of the SC Budget and Control Board, who will make the ultimate decision on the issue. Click here to open an online email form to send them your thoughts.

In keeping with my mission of keeping you informed about issues that affect us as a Student Body at the College of Charleston, I am writing to you today to inform you of an important issue in South Carolina that has the possibility of greatly affecting the College for years to come.

Some of you may have heard that Governor Sanford is currently proposing a halt in construction on South Carolina campuses.  The Governor has stated that tuition increases could be alleviated by such a measure, and he is calling on the State Budget and Control Board to pass a moratorium to halt construction accordingly.  The Governor feels that this measure would “allow schools to focus more funds on classroom instruction, better protect the taxpayer, and finally make the college dream of so many young South Carolinians out there indeed more achievable.”

This proposal has been met with strong resistance from nearly all the public institutions of Higher Education in the State, including from our very own President Benson and his office.  Furthermore, the Chairman of the USC Board of Trustees wrote an opinion article in The State newspaper on Sunday, September 27th where he respectfully stated that he felt the Governor’s assertion that construction costs have driven up the cost of tuition is incorrect.

I would like to briefly explain some of the arguments that have been coming from the Higher Education leadership, and the College, as to their stance in regards to this proposal.

As many of you know, the College’s Student Body doubled from roughly 5,000 to roughly 10,000 students from 1990-2001.  In 2003, the College completed a facilities master plan that found the College was well short of the square footage necessary for our capped Student Body of 10,000.  The College undertook a massive campus-wide project to update our campus to provide for our students the buildings that were necessary for the size of our student body.  The completion of buildings such as the Carolina First Arena, the New Science Center, the renovation of the Stern Center, and the Cato Center for the Arts were necessary and welcome additions to the College that updated our campus to adequately serve the student body.

With this proposal, many of our historic buildings that may be in need of necessary repairs in the near future would not be able to be renovated.  Projects such as the renovation of the Hungry Cougar or offices on campus, which are vital to improving our university, could be in danger.

While the South Carolina Higher Education community has been vocal about their opposition to this proposal, there has been a noticeable omission of student dialogue in regards to this issue.  I am writing today to ask you to come to the SGA senate meeting today, Tuesday, September 28th at 4:30pm in Rivers Green (behind the library) to give SGA your feedback regarding this proposal.  We will be providing the Governor feedback by voting through legislation in regards to his stance, and we want your feedback as we do so.

Please come out to the especially important Senate on Tuesday, or e-mail me your thoughts regarding this proposal at nelsoni@cofc.edu.

Should you want to see the SGA’s agenda for this Tuesday, including this resolution, please check here:


For our College,

Isaiah Nelson
President of the Student Government Association


UPDATE: On September 30, the Budget and Control Board passed the capital projects moratorium on any school that raised tuition more than 7.0%. This includes College of Charleston. The moratorium will be lifted if the college reduces its tuition increase to only 7.0% for the Spring 2011 semester. The Board of Trustees and President Benson are studying all available options and will provide more information after their meeting later this month. Stay tuned to our blog and the College’s website for updates.

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