South Carolina legislators are backing off a proposal to merge the College of Charleston with the Medical University of South Carolina.
A proposal that passed a House panel this week would instead expand the College of Charleston’s course offerings and designate the new courses as part of a new research University of Charleston that would fall under CofC’s leadership.
State Rep. Leon Stavrinakis (D-Charleston) said lawmakers decided this was a better option for the two schools, whose leaders and faculty adamantly opposed a merger. “It just became obvious that there might be a path of less resistance,” he told South Carolina Radio Network.
Stavrinakis and State Rep. Jim Merrill, R-Daniel Island, had pushed the merger earlier this year, saying the combined research university could offer graduate degrees that are needed in the Lowcountry. Stavrinakis said the University of Charleston could offer those courses instead and partner with MUSC on some forms of research.
He said the bill’s language will ensure the school does not duplicate programs offered at other schools in the region. “The whole intent is to offer what’s not available. We’re not doing this so they can offer things which already exist.”
MUSC and CofC officials said they support the new plan, which now heads to the House Ways & Means Committee.
The state currently has three research universities: Clemson, South Carolina, and MUSC.