Citadel Board Chair Resigns Under Pressure

A state senator in South Carolina threatened to pass legislation that would remove Fred Price from the board at the military college if he did not resign.

September 10, 2020
 
Richard Ellis/Stringer via Getty Images
Incoming Citadel freshmen stand in formation while waiting to be issued a uniform.

Fred Price, chairman of the Citadel Board of Visitors, resigned Wednesday after a South Carolina lawmaker repeatedly called for his resignation and threatened to pass legislation that would remove him from the public military college in Charleston, S.C.

The Post and Courier reported Monday that Stephen Goldfinch, a Republican state senator and Citadel graduate, was upset by Price’s support for an antihazing measure that the Citadel's president, Glenn Walters, announced in February 2019.

Price issued a statement after his resignation Wednesday.

“Today I reluctantly withdrew my name for consideration to serve another term on The Citadel's Board of Visitors from the College and University Trustee Screening Commission. I also resigned immediately as Board Chair and will step down as a member of the Board December 31, 2020,” Price wrote. “The Board's outstanding Vice Chair, Colonel Myron Harrington, U.S. Marine Corps (retired), will step into the Board Chair position, where he will continue to serve our college with honor and distinction. I can think of no better leader to continue the college's mission to educate and develop principled leaders for all walks of life.”

In a Sept. 2 letter to the Board of Visitors, Goldfinch demanded that Price step down before Sept. 22 and said that he would otherwise file legislation that would eliminate board members who had served for more than 12 years. Price, also a Citadel graduate, has served on the board since 2007 and was elected chair in 2017.

Goldfinch also wrote that he had support for the measure from most of the Senate Republican caucus. Republicans currently control the state senate and hold 27 seats. Democrats hold 19.

He told The Post and Courier that he thought Price was a “bad apple” and that he felt Price had not properly informed the board of alumni concerns about a new sophomore reassignment measure, which the Citadel implemented to discourage hazing.

The measure, referred to as the sophomore shuffle, reassigns sophomore cadets to a new company after their first year. The shuffle keeps "cadets focused on the traditions of the college and prevents dysfunctional norms from taking root at company level,” Walters said in an announcement last year.

“Historically, cadet attrition varies significantly between companies. When higher attrition occurs in a company, fewer sophomores are available to hold rank. The following year, that company accepts a larger number of freshmen to fill empty beds,” Walters said. “Over time, that imbalance results in some companies with very low numbers of juniors and seniors, which has a detrimental impact on the cohesiveness of the company chain of command. Balancing the number of sophomore cadets in each company will reduce the negative effects these imbalances can cause.”

Goldfinch declined to comment for this article. Price did not respond to a request for additional comment.

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