Eyewitness News was there Friday as the Winthrop University board of trustees voted unanimously to appoint Jayne Comstock as the university's new president.
Here are portions of the release from Winthrop:
Dr. Jayne Marie Comstock was chosen Friday by the Winthrop University Board of Trustees to become the 10th president of the 127-year-old Rock Hill institution.
Comstock, currently director of the Executive Leadership Group for the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C., is on sabbatical from Butler University in Indianapolis, where she was provost and vice president for academic affairs. Prior to her work at Butler, Dr. Comstock was the chief academic officer and professor of communication at Millikin University and Baker University. She also held administrative and faculty posts at Saint Louis University and the University of West Florida.
Winthrop Board Chair Dalton Floyd offered Comstock the new position via a mid-day call to her Washington, D.C., office. Floyd reported the just-concluded unanimous vote of the trustees, then added, "So I am now authorized to officially offer you the opportunity to become the next president of Winthrop University. Do you accept?"
The answer he received was "Yes. I am so very pleased to have been selected as the next president of Winthrop. I am also honored by the confidence the Board of Trustees has given me and the trust they have placed in me for the care and advancement of this wonderful university."
Comstock replaces retiring Anthony Digiorgio, who served as president for 24 years.
Though the board's approval was unanimous, some faculty spoke out against the hire. During public comments Friday several professors voiced concerns that Comstock was not open about a lawsuit she was involved in while provost at Butler.
The libel lawsuit involved a student and was dropped several years ago. However, some Winthrop staff felt that Comstock should have answered questions about it when she interviewed on the Rock Hill campus.
Political science professor Stephen Smith accused Comstock of intimidating reporters who tried to ask her questions about the lawsuit and not being candid when she had the chance.
"Why should Winthrop want to take a chance at such a pivotal point in our development to bring in someone surrounded with such negativity?" Smith told the board of trustees.
Others voiced concerns that Comstock may allow less freedom for the campus newspaper, the Johnsonian, and seek to limit free speech of students.
"We are very concerned about the issue of suppression of student voices and opinions," said professor Chris Van Aller.
Other faculty members also expressed concerns that there was only a 24-hour notice given before Friday's meeting to appoint a new president.
Smith said other professors who are out of town or have conflicts would have spoken out against the appointment if more notice had been given.
Board members said they felt the lawsuit at Butler University was a dead issue because it had been dropped.