The Daily Gamecock

Looking back: Four years of USC history

2017-2018 Academic Year

Aug. 17, 2017: The Center for Health and Well-Being is completed

USC built the Center of Health and Well-Being over the summer of 2017, aiming to deliver messages of wellness for students. The building replaced Thomson Student Health Center as the hub for student health. 

Aug. 18, 2017: While you were away: Tuition rose 3.64%

USC’s board of trustees increased tuition 3.64%, the largest increase in years, due to the university losing funding from the state. On June 23, 2017, the budget was voted on in the board of trustees meeting. Five members voted against raising tuition.

Feb. 21, 2018: Statue in honor of Richard T. Greener unveiled 

Richard T. Greener became the first Black professor at USC in 1873. USC was the only Southern public university at the time to employ a Black professor. The push to create the statue was started by students, faculty and staff, according to reporting done by The Daily Gamecock.

2018-2019 Academic Year

May 15, 2018: Allison Dunavant sues USC, Pastides, Voros, International Center of the Arts in sexual harassment lawsuit

Allison Dunavant, an alumna of the School of Visual Art and Design (SVAD), said SVAD professor David Voros forced her to do manual labor or she would not receive food during an abroad trip with Voros to Italy in 2016. Dunavant said she also warded off unwanted sexual advances from Voros on the trip.

USC agreed to pay $75,000 for a settlement.

Oct 3., 2018: Harris Pastides announces plan to step down as university president

Former USC President Harris Pastides made the announcement he was stepping down in July 2019 during his State of the University address. 

This began a controversial process of selecting a new president. Students protested both the lack of female presidential candidates and Bob Caslen as a candidate.

March 29, 2019: Samantha Josephson is killed after entering a car she thought was her Uber

Samantha Josephson was a fourth-year political science student planning to attend Drexel University law school in Philadelphia in fall 2019. One night in Five Points, however, Josephson entered a car she thought was her Uber and was murdered. 

In response to her death, bars in Five Points pledged to ensure students’ safety getting to their rides after the bars close for the night.

Uber and USC announced a partnership on a nationwide campus safety initiative encouraging students to ask their rideshare drivers, “What’s my name?” before getting in their cars.

 July 19, 2019: Bob Caslen selected by board of trustees as university president

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster had called the board of trustees to vote specifically on Caslen.  The initial vote on April 26, 2019, was met with student and faculty protests against Caslen, leaving the chancellor of USC Upstate the interim university president until July 19, 2019.

The board voted for Caslen in an 11-8 vote, with one board member abstaining. McMaster, an ex-officio member of the board, was not present.

2019-2020 Academic Year

Aug. 27, 2019: Student loses life to suicide in Greek Village 

In August 2019, Matthew Grossman entered his second year at USC and moved into the SAE Fraternity house with a friend from his hometown, whom he played basketball with when they were younger.

It was on Aug. 27, 2019, that Grossman took his own life. Friends and family held a candlelight vigil in front of the SAE house in Grossman’s honor. 

Feb. 21, March 6, 2020: USC makes history with new picks for provost and vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion 

On Feb. 21, 2020, USC found its first vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion in Julian R. Williams. Williams would report directly to the president to create a “diverse, equitable, and inclusive” environment on campus. 

On March 6, 2020, USC selected its first Black provost, William F. Tate, during a board of trustees meeting. 

March 16, 2020: COVID-19 begins to uproot normal USC operations

USC students’ spring break was extended to March 22, 2020, with the expectation being students would return to campus April 6, 2020. Students wouldn’t return to campus until fall 2020, with a mix of in-person and online classes.  

2020-2021 Academic Year:

Aug. 21, Aug. 26, 2020: Protestors preach hate on campus, students counter-protest 

A lone demonstrator protested the Black Lives Matter movement with signs reading anti-BLM messages on Greene Street. Five days later, a group of protestors arrived on Davis Field holding signs with anti-BLM, anti-LGBTQIA+ and religiously intolerant ideologies.

Both times, students formed a counterprotest until the protestors left. USC upheld both the individuals’ and groups’ right to protest on campus.   

Dec. 17, 2020: Accusations of sexual harassment come to light, students petition for firing of SVAD professors David Voros, Laura Kissel, reform of harassment reporting system

Besides calling for the firing of Voros and Kissel, the petition called for an overhaul of the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs' (EOP) system for reporting sexual harassment. The petition came after two former instructors filed lawsuits in 2020, which detailed the mishandling of both reports by Kissel, who directs the school. 

The university has since removed Voros from the classroom.

Feb. 8, 2021: Campus pushes to rename buildings after Student Government letter 

The campus community, in addition to former Student Body President Issy Rushton and former Student Body Vice President Hannah White in an open letter, criticized the Presidential Commission on University History for its inaction regarding renaming campus buildings. 

In 2019, Caslen created the commission to look into the history of the university and make recommendations for university action based on their research. No buildings have been renamed thus far.

March 18, 2021: Theater professor fired, Caslen announces changes to university's sexual assault, harassment response 

On March 18, USC theater professor Robert Richmond was removed from the classroom. This came after reporting by The State detailed Richmond’s inappropriate behavior with female students.

The reporting led to Caslen announcing numerous changes in the university’s response to sexual harassment. Some changes included the creation of an independent Title IX coordinator and a review of the appeals process for EOP investigations.