File Photo: Zahida Ashroff / The Daily Gamecock

Board of trustees discusses governance committee logistics, AAAS zoombombing investigation

The board of trustees met today to discuss the objectives and methods of the ad hoc governance committee and give an update on the AAAS “zoombombing” that occurred on Friday. 

University president Bob Caslen said a criminal investigation has been started regarding the AAAS incident on Friday and that criminal charges can be brought up. 

Campus police are prepared to subpoena Zoom to get the IP address of all participants, including the students and people who joined the call and performed the attack. 

IP addresses cannot on their own reveal an identity unless other information associated with the address is found, such as a username.

Cameron Howell, a hired governance consultant and cousin of board member Mack Whittle, began the discussion on the purpose and goals of the committee. Howell said the committee needs to decide what are the top priorities for work and how this work can be split. 

Howell also discussed two breached standards that USC's accrediting board, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), named in a letter sent to Caslen in January.

SACSCOC expects a monitoring report, due Sept. 8, from the university. Monitoring reports show progress from an institution attempting to meet failed SACSCOC standards.

“First, a standard related to the way that the chief executive is evaluated and selected, secondly, the notion of external influence which has been addressed in a fair amount of correspondence between the university and SACS at the end of the last calendar year,” Howell said. 

According to Howell, the university has managed to follow up and comply with numerous recommendations in the SACSCOC monitoring report and AGB. 

These include the university allowing for an external assessment by AGB, the board creating a code of conduct for members of the board, also approving an oath of office for trustees, establishing an ad hoc governance committee, engaging a consultant — Howell — and performing a study in an effort to improve attention to the overall USC system. 

Howell also discussed reorganizing committee structure, describing it as a “big picture question.” 

“There are a whole host of related issues, but in our current opinion, we need to be thinking about the number of and purpose of each of these committees before we can get to the downstream questions,” Howell said. 

Downstream questions, Howell said, include more detail based questions of committees, such as meeting times and the make up of committees. 

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