CougarBuzz Around Campus: What CofC students really think of a merger

Two South Carolina lawmakers, Reps. Jim Merrill and Leon Stavrinakis, want to bring the College of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina together as a single university in “response to business demands in the Lowcountry to create a workforce to match our growing economy.”

Even though the decision has been pushed back another year, the CofC community has not given the debate a break. Although the legislators and others supporting the merger have plenty of reasons for doing so, the actual merging of the two schools would cost millions of dollars, which is not exactly what Charleston was looking for to stimulate its economy.

Those not in favor of the merger say the money should be spent to expand the Women’s and Children’s wings at MUSC and to improve classroom space at the College of Charleston.

But when you talk to CofC students, cost of the merger is not the major concern. Losing the identity that currently exists is the problem.


Ashton Pound ‘14

“I personally am against it as well even though I am a senior and it doesn’t affect me. Just for future students, they are going to be more focused on a research aspect instead of liberal arts. What are those students who came here for a liberal arts degree supposed to do? Also class sizes are supposed to get bigger and small classes are one of the many reasons I came here. Sorry, I just have a lot to say about all of this.”

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Nely Rusher-Clark ‘16

“I honestly haven’t heard enough about it to have a strong opinion about the merger. I just want to know how it will affect the end of it all – graduation, diploma and all. I think I would care if the name changed though.”

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Clara Parker ‘16

“I think that especially as students, we need to be a lot more informed on how it will affect the College as a whole. I think people are nervous that we are going to lose our liberal arts reputation by merging with MUSC, and that should be dealt with by the College’s staff.”

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Stephanie Benner ‘14

“I don’t think it is a good idea. People are going to fight it until the final decision is made. I think both the College and MUSC can stand on their own.”

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Elaina Gyure ‘15

“It would destroy the fabric that holds the liberal arts college together.”

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Taylor Clark ‘15

“It’s not that I don’t just want the name to change, but I came here from New York because of the small college feel within such a charming city. If this merger goes through, I feel like it would take away from why I came here in the first place.”

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Rebecca Kahn ‘15

“I am really opposed to it simply because of the name. ‘College of Charleston, CofC, The College’ – whatever you want to call it – is deeply embedded in our culture. If it was changed to The University of Charleston-George Street Campus, before I accepted here… I don’t even know if I would have applied. The name is so technical, and there’s nothing prestigious about it, just blah. We would lose tradition, and it really bothers me. Why do we have to change our name? I have never heard a complaint about it before, so is there truly a need?”

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Chris Haley, Alumni

The whole purpose of it was to expand and create a larger university. I feel like the goal they are searching for would not be accomplished by merging. I don’t really care about changing the name. The problem was the Legislature pushing it through without the input of the College. My opinion is that it was more of a political move rather than benefitting the education of the state. If anything, it would have added to the tuition, created more bureaucracy and would not be beneficial to prospective students.”

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Courtney Leonard, Alumni

“I was OK with the idea at first until I heard more details about everything. I feel that it would change the College from a liberal arts college to a more science-based college, which makes me sad because that is one of the reasons I chose to come to this school. I love how liberal and arts based our campus is.”

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Marissa Ward ‘15

“Well I wouldn’t be going to the Charleston University because it’s a supposed to be a research school. Awkward, I’m an art major. So basically they would lose any liberal arts students because nothing scares a creative person like scientific research. And in a city like Charleston, it’s a crime to run out all the liberal arts students because I feel that it gives the city its vibe. They truly appreciate the beauty Charleston and the College have. Also Charleston University-George Street Campus sounds like a community school. They should be super proud of that…. already lost their creativity! My $160,000 I’ve spend at CofC would be for nothing; the school wouldn’t exist anymore and would probably f*** up my future, and I would never contribute as an alumni because it’s not CofC anymore. It’s not my alma mater if it becomes Charleston University.”

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Kaila Orn ‘15

“I don’t like the idea of the merger. Not only is the new name stupid, but I think we would lose our small school feel. I feel like a lot of money and new students would go toward math and science and liberal arts majors will lose the attention and resources we deserve.”

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Phoebe Wheeler ‘16

“I think they are trying to fix something that isn’t broken”

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Christina Piperato ‘14

“I personally don’t want to see it happen because it will take away all of the history of College of Charleston and what the college was founded on. Also, the college has experienced tremendous growth and progress as it is now recognized for it’s academic excellence. The merger will replace years of hard work, dedication and commitment.”

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Kelly Ferri ‘15

“I think it’s really dumb. I just don’t see at all how you could merge a liberal arts college with a medical university. They are two totally separate things. On top of that, the medical university is a reknown institution in its own right, and I think a merger would take away from their esteem. Also the College has been around for ages, and our agenda does not quite fit with theirs.”

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Alex Vlahos, Coastal Carolina Alumni/Citadel MBA Candidate

“From what I have read and heard, people are really upset about the decision, and I can see why. My brother chose to go to College of Charleston because of its liberal arts reputation and even though he is going to graduate school to work in medical research, he would not have come to the College if it was a research institute to begin with.”

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-by Camille Sligh

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