McConnell colleague: 'It's character assassination'

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - The Charleston chapter of the NAACP on Monday held a press conference announcing their concern that Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell was being considered for the position of president of the College of Charleston.

On Tuesday, McConnell's colleagues spoke on his behalf saying he's not the guy the NAACP portrayed him to be.

"They are doing a disservice to the wrong person," said Jimmy Bailey, a former democratic state representative who says he served with McConnell from 1988 to 1994. "I was led to believe by the same crowd that's trying to destroy him now, that he was the boogie man. And I found out that he wasn't."

NAACP leaders said McConnell is not qualified to serve as president because he has no experience in higher education.

They also noted McConnell is an avid supporter of the Confederate flag and a civil war re-enactor, which may influence his ability to diversify the college's student body.

"That's a hobby," said Robert Ford, former state senator. "Don't misjudge somebody because of their love for their history and heritage."

Over the years, Ford says McConnell has devoted countless hours to supporting South Carolina minorities.

"Senator Jackson and I went to Glenn McConnell and said, 'Listen, you got all these Confederate monuments, white monuments -- what you going to do for us?,'" said Ford. "Within a year in a half, we had a African American monument, the only one in the whole country."

Bailey says his service at the statehouse is a clear indication of how he will serve CofC.

"For 30 years, Glenn has been the go-to person in the general assembly for the College of Charleston. So, he probably knows more about the college, the ins and outs of anybody who could possibly want that job," said Bailey.

Both Bailey and Ford say McConnell is the best person to become CofC's new president and heighten diversity.

"The College of Charleston should thank Glenn McConnell," said Ford. "Since I was in the Senate with him, College of Charleston got more than their fair share of state revenue."

"Six percent minorities go to the college. That's not acceptable and Glenn knows that," Bailey said. "If there's anybody that can find a solution to that, it'll be Glenn McConnell just like he found a solution to bring down the confederate flag."

McConnell is set to have an on-campus interview on Thursday.{}

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