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      CofC president ends merger talks in letter to campus

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - A revamped mission statement will put an end to the merger talks with the medical university, according to Pres. Glenn McConnell in a letter to the campus Wednesday.

      The Board of Trustees earlier in the day approved a new mission statement that would designate the school as a research institution rather than a comprehensive university.

      McConnell said the change in designation does not mean the College will have to increase its funded research or change teaching loads for the faculty.

      "The only change for the College is that we would be allowed to offer doctoral degrees -- if and only if those degree programs are approved by the faculty, the Board of Trustees, the Commission on Higher Education, and our regional accreditor," he said in the letter.

      But that does not mean CofC will start offering doctoral degrees anytime soon, he said. McConnell says the degree programs would only be created when there was a clear need in the community and they were fully funded.

      "I pledge to you that I will never support a doctoral program unless I am entirely confident that the program will not take money away from our undergraduate mission," he said.

      McConnell told the campus community that the College's name was safe and would not change, as one proposed bill threatened before failing to gain support after widespread opposition.

      The school's new president said he has since March fought against changing the school's name or its liberal arts identity.

      While the legislation presented earlier this year failed, McConnell said he expected similar bills to be presented in the upcoming session.

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