University of South Carolina (UofSC) President Bob Caslen recently offered to resign from his post following a controversial address he made during commencement ceremonies last Friday.
According to university spokesperson Jeff Stensland, Caslen verbally proposed the resignation, but the chairman of the board of trustees rejected the offer.
Criticisms directed at Caslen stem from a couple gaffes he committed during his commencement address to graduates at the Williams-Brice Stadium.
At the end of his speech, Caslen said “It’s now my honor and privilege to officially congratulate you as the newest alumni from the University of California” instead of South Carolina.
The error was met with whispers and WLTX reported that someone near Caslen corrected him off-camera, adding that he now owes the graduates some push-ups because of his mistake.
Following the mishap, FitsNews, a local independent news site, also revealed that a section of the president’s speech was taken from a previous address made by Navy Admiral Williiam McRaven at the University of Texas at Austin many years ago.
“Know that life is not fair, and if you’re like me, you’ll fail often. But if you take some risks, step up when times are toughest, face down the cowardly bullies and lift up the downtrodden, and never, never give up — if you do those things the next generation and the generations to follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today. And what started here, today, will indeed change the world for the better,” Caslen read.
But a transcript of McRaven’s speech back in 2014 showed how similar the words were to what Caslen said on Friday. Caslen issued an apology to students and alumni a day after the incident.
“I am truly sorry. During my remarks in our weekend commencement ceremonies, I shared a well-known quote from Admiral William McRaven and failed to cite him as its original author and speaker,” he wrote.
“I was searching for words about resilience in adversity and when they were transcribed into the speech, I failed to ensure its attribution. I take full responsibility for this oversight,” Caslen added.