Comprehensive Standard 3.2.4
The governing board is free from undue influence from political, religious, or other external bodies, and protects the institution from such influence. (External influence)
The University of South Carolina Upstate (USC Upstate) is governed by the Board of Trustees (Board) of the University of South Carolina (USC) System as stated in the South Carolina Code of Law, Section 59-117-10. A duty of the Board is to remain free from undue influence from political, religious, or other external bodies and protect the institution from such influence.
The Board has delegated to the USC System the right and duty to establish policies and procedures to protect the institution from undue influence specifically affirmative action and equal opportunity in education and employment; sexual harassment; discriminatory harassment; discrimination on the basis of personal characteristics such as age, race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability status, and sexual orientation; and nepotism.
As a public body, the board adheres to the provisions of the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act. All books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings or other documentary materials associated with the board, unless closed to the public or otherwise exempted, are considered part of the public record and are publicly available.
The Board shields the institution from undue pressures principally by requiring a decision-making environment based firmly on written, established process. Checks and balances exist throughout, and the culture of transparency and inclusiveness in planning and execution assures that efforts to impose external pressure are weighed and judged against the formally adopted mission, goals and objectives, then discussed openly. Limits on tuition increases provide an example of an external political attempt to influence members of the Board. Despite the Legislator’s stated desire to limit tuition increases in 2006-2012, the Board exercised its statutory obligation and independent judgment in determining appropriate tuition increases for each of its campuses. Through its actions, the Board actively and consistently shielded the institution from undue influence and pressures.