South Carolina Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell calls the House chamber to order before the State of the State address to the joint session of the legislature on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014 at the Statehouse in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

The College of Charleston is tearing at the seams as outraged students and alumni protest the selection of its next president – a defender of the Confederacy with a history of championing the Rebel Flag.

The board of trustees’ selection of Republican Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, a Civil War re-enactor who for years led the fight to keep the Confederate flag hanging over South Carolina’s capital building, comes just two years after the college embarked on an ambitious campaign to attract more minority students.

Critics say McConnell’s appointment will tarnish the college’s reputation and hinder efforts to diversify the student body, which with just 6% black students has one of the lowest student diversity rates in the state.

Both the student government and faculty Senate have issued unanimous votes of no-confidence in the school’s board of trustees. The board has not budged, insisting it stands by McConnell’s selection.

“We believe that Glenn McConnell is the best person to lead the College of Charleston, and we expect to quickly conclude the contract negotiations and formally introduce Lt. Gov. McConnell to the campus and the community,” Greg Padgett, chair of the Board of Trustees, said in a statement.

Critics of the appointment believe that politics, not credentials, played the biggest role in the selection.

McConnell, who has never worked in higher education, beat out a handful of finalists with extensive experience working in colleges and universities, including University of West Florida Provost Martha Saunders and Dennis Encarnation, a consultant and fellow at Harvard University.

“He’s been a divisive force in South Carolina for a long time,” said the Rev. Joseph Darby, a vice president with the Charleston NAACP, which has joined calls for McConnell’s removal. He called McConnell’s appointment a “sham” and said the selection is a smack in the face to the college and anyone associated with it.

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