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Nine days after a joint committee of the South Carolina General Assembly castigated members of the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees and refused to endorse the re-election of five board members whose terms expire this year, a bill is being debated in the State Senate to fire all current trustees, reduce the total number on the board and elect a new board next year.

The proposal comes after the joint committee blamed trustees for the botched hiring of a president for the university and for approving spending millions of dollars to buy out the contracts of two fired athletics department coaches.

The bill was voted on earlier this week to beat a Thursday deadline for forwarding bills to the Senate. House lawmakers approved it 113 to 1 on Wednesday. The proposal was being considered by the state Senate Education Committee yesterday.

House speaker Jay Lucas introduced the bill Tuesday after the joint committee took the trustees to task over the hiring of a previous university president, Robert Caslen, a process that uncovered allegations of corrupt actions by the search committee, and the search for a successor after Caslen resigned. Committee members also criticized the use of nearly $16 million in university general funds by the athletic department to buy out the fired coaches’ contracts.

The bill would end the terms of all the board members in June 2023, change the district representation on the board and reduce the number of board members from 21 to 13. The current board members would be eligible to compete for new seats.