It’s been about three weeks since Governor Nikki Haley replaced Lake City financier Darla Moore on the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees. The move was met with protests by USC students and alumni upset that the school’s largest benefactor was bounced from the board.
In a interview Wednesday with Columbia affiliate WVOC, Haley says she handled the situation as best she could. Haley says she has the utmost respect for Moore, but she needed to replace her with someone more compatible with her agenda for higher education in the state.
Gov. Jim Hodges, a Democrat, appointed Moore to the USC Board in 1999. Moore has pledged $75 million to USC in her life, which includes a gift of $5 million announced after she was removed from the board.
Haley replaced Moore on the board with Lexington attorney Tommy Cofield, who also contributed to Haley’s gubernatorial campaign. Haley says she wanted someone on the board that would articulate her goals and would be responsive to her administration. She says Cofield is well-acquainted with the University of South Carolina, where he is an adjunct professor and father of a USC student.
Haley says she understands that, for many, replacing Moore was an unpopular decision. However, she maintained that the bottom line is that as governor she has to make some tough decisions and not all of them will be universally popular.