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Board of Trustees

Appendix D — Trustee Selection Process


A. Successor Trustees
Vacancies for successor trustees shall be filled by the currently sitting successor trustees. (See Appendix B.) 

B. Legislative Trustees
Selection Process for Trustees Elected By The SC General Assembly

59-119-40. Board of trustees; election; term

The university shall be under the management and control of a board of thirteen trustees, composed of the seven members nominated by the will and their successors and six members to be elected by the General Assembly in joint assembly. Three of the original trustees having been elected for a term of two years and three for a term of four years from the commencement of their terms and until their successors were elected, thereafter the General Assembly has and hereafter it shall every two years elect in joint assembly three trustees for such university who shall serve for a term of four years and until their successors shall be elected and shall qualify. In electing members of the board, the General Assembly shall elect members based on merit regardless of race, color, creed, or gender and shall strive to assure that the membership of the board is representative of all citizens of the State of South Carolina.

The terms of the present members of the board who are elected by the General Assembly expire on the thirtieth day of June of the year in which the terms are scheduled to expire. Beginning with its 1984 session, the General Assembly shall elect successors to the elective trustees not earlier than the first day of April for a term to begin the following July first. Elections to fill vacancies on the board which are caused by the death, resignation, or removal of an elective trustee may be held earlier than the first day of April of the year in which the unexpired term terminates, but the term of the person elected to fill the vacancy expires on the last day of June of the year in which the term of the former member would have expired.

Legislative Screening Committee

The South Carolina General Assembly has established a Joint Legislative Committee to Screen Candidates for Boards of Trustees of State Colleges and Universities. This legislative screening committee typically solicits letters of intent from candidates for college and university boards of trustees in early November of each year. Any person who wishes to offer as a candidate for a board position must notify the legislative screening committee in writing of his-her intent to do so by the screening committee's deadline, which is typically in mid-November. The screening committee will interview each candidate to assess his-her qualifications for service on the college or university board in question. Only candidates deemed qualified by the screening committee may campaign for election before the General Assembly.


The first year of a Trustee’s service is considered the indoctrination year, and a number of steps should be taken to help the Trustee gain an understanding of the strengths of the University as well as its problems. A suggested means of indoctrinating new Board members is set forth in the following paragraphs with a description of steps to be followed.

1. Orientation of New Trustee

The Executive Secretary arranges for in-depth orientation briefings for new Trustees as soon as possible after their election. These briefings can be scheduled in conjunction with the member’s first Board meeting, but in any event should precede first participation as a Board member if at all possible. The briefings should extend at least to the following:

  • Tour of campus
  • Session with the President on his plans and philosophy of education and on the ten most important problems facing the University
  • Luncheon with the President and top officers reporting to the President
  • Session with each of the vice presidents on their organization, plans, accomplishments, and future problems
  • A session with each of the five academic deans regarding their college, its programs, departmental structure, role of the dean, role of the department heads, student outlook, financing and present problems

2. Reading Program

The Executive Secretary scans current literature on the subject of governance and provides all of the Trustees with copies of relevant reading material designed to keep them up-to-date on University governance.


A Trustee who fails to perform the duties set forth in the will of Thomas Green Clemson, the South Carolina Code of Laws or the Trustee Manual may be removed from the Board, but only after due process has been afforded.

Since there are two distinct processes for being appointed to the Board of Trustees, there are also two distinct procedures for removal.

A. Successor Trustees
A Successor Trustee may only be removed by action of the other Successor Trustees. In the event four Successor Trustees believe that another Successor Trustee has failed to properly perform the duties required of all Trustees, the four shall present their concerns to the Successor Trustee with the longest continuing service (“Senior Successor Trustee”), exclusive of the Successor Trustee whose actions are in question. In the event two or more Successor Trustees have equal years of service, the Senior Successor Trustee shall be deemed the Successor Trustee whose last name appears first in alphabetical order. The Senior Successor Trustee shall convene a meeting of the Successor Trustees to hear the allegations and to render a decision. The Successor Trustee whose failure has been alleged shall have the right to be notified seven days in advance of the meeting and shall have the right to present evidence in his or her own defense. The Senior Successor Trustee shall establish procedural guidelines for the meeting, but in no event shall any attorney be permitted to attend the meeting for the purpose of representing any party involved. Once all evidence has been presented, the Successor Trustee in question will leave the meeting and the remaining Successor Trustees will deliberate and vote by secret ballot. In the event five Successor Trustees vote to remove the Successor Trustee, then his or her service on the Clemson University Board of Trustees shall be terminated. An action to remove a Successor Trustee shall be effective immediately, unless otherwise specified at the time the action is taken.

B. Elected Trustees
A Trustee elected to the Board by the South Carolina General Assembly may only be removed by action of the General Assembly. In the event four Elected Trustees believe that another Elected Trustee has failed to properly perform the duties required of all Trustees, the four shall present their concerns to the Chair of the Board of Trustees. The Chair shall promptly convey those concerns to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The General Assembly shall follow such procedures as it deems appropriate in evaluating the concerns presented.

July 2018

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