The Daily Gamecock

In Our Opinion: Pastides, creativity key to USC's future

Harris Pastides entered the ring as USC’s president at as bad a time as he could have imagined. It was 2008, and the recession would deliver blow after blow in budget cuts. The first one came quick, then another, and another.

In his first year as president, the school suffered a crippling 23 percent in cuts. Pastides took the blows to funding in stride, and five years later, USC is still swinging — with the worst behind us.
We survived round one, but at what cost?

Braving the budget cuts required raising tuition and taking in an extra 5,000 students, creating an entirely new monster to tackle.
Campus facilities are inadequate for the school’s present population in nearly every facet: parking, classrooms, labs, housing and even the Russell House are all stretched then by an onslaught of students.

Bending with pressure and not breaking are key, and they have been a hallmark of Pastides’ tenure thus far.

Expansion is clearly important to USC’s future, but to avoid adding excessive debt to the the more than $500 million it already had, it’ll have to get creative to keep moving.

We can expect USC’s satellite campuses to play a larger role in easing the stress in Columbia, and public-private partnerships will help add facilities.

It won’t carry the university entirely, but it’s a start.
USC has changed dramatically since Pastides took over as president, and it’ll have to change more. Pastides weathered the recession by rolling with the punches and dampening the blows that did connect by making defensive decisions.

Now, he and USC must be aggressive in pursuing the funds it needs to accommodate its growing population.

It won’t be easy, especially considering the struggles USC faces in its backlog of maintenance needs, its growing debt and its continued fights with state government.

Under Pastides, USC made it through the challenges of the recession. We’re confident that under him, it can get through the next set of questions as well.