CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - College of Charleston President and former Lieutenant Gov. Glenn McConnell issued a statement Thursday indicating he supports Gov. Nikki Haley's call to remove the Confederate battle flag from the State House grounds.
His statement came a day after the CofC Board of Trustees passed a resolution of support of the governor's call to remove the flag.
In the statement, McConnell said he had hoped to avoid making a political statement during the time of grief for the nine shooting victims at Emanuel AME Church, but acknowledged multiple requests for comments made that impossible.
McConnell said when he was a state senator, he and his colleagues forged a bipartisan and biracial compromise to move the flag from the State House dome to the Confederate monument on State House grounds.
"Today is a different time," he said in part in the statement published on the CofC website. "In the aftermath of the horrific tragedy that spilled the blood of nine souls within the hallowed halls of Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church, the time has come to revisit the issue of the Confederate soldier's flag, which a number of our citizens regard as offensive.
"Many other citizens regard the old soldier's banner as a fitting memorial to the Confederate dead. However, on State House grounds, we should seek to respect the views of all citizens as best we reasonably can.
"Therefore, I support Governor Haley's call to remove the Confederate soldier's flag from State House grounds as a visible statement of courtesy and good will to all those who may be offended by it. At the same time, I also urge all public officials and activists who are focusing on this issue to come together, the way the good people of Charleston joined hands following the terrible tragedy we suffered, and agree not to transfer the fight to other physical vestiges and memorials of our state's past. In a spirit of good will and mutual respect, let us all agree that the monuments, cemeteries, historic street and building names shall be preserved and protected. How sad it would be to end one controversy only to trigger a thousand more."
McConnell said the people of South Carolina "are entitled to their complete history, the parts that give us pride as well as sadness. We learn from our past and grow from exploring our shared history."
The College of Charleston's Board of Trustees also issued a resolution to rename one of the Colonial Scholarships the Cynthia Graham Hurd Memorial Scholarship. Hurd, who was one of nine people gunned down on June 17 after a Bible study inside the Mother Emanuel AME Church, was the College's longest-serving part-time librarian, having been at the College since the 1990s. Hurd also worked full time for the Charleston County Library system as a librarian and branch manager for more than three decades, according to the board's resolution.