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BUUTWR WATCHMAN, Ksaabh
Vwimlldated Aug, 8t 188
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MH NEPOTISM! CHAREED.
lJsXUKLATURK COMMITTEE GETS
AT ROOT OF CT4H.W8ON
Columbia. Jan. 17.?The report of
the legislative committee consisting
of Senstor T. I. Rogers and Repre?
sentatives E. W. Duvall and L. If.
Lnwson. charged with the exam 1 ra?
tion Of the State's Educational Insti?
tutions* Is one of the most Interesting
documents presented for the const d
of the legislature at this ses
The portion of the report deal?
ing with conditions at Clemson Col?
lege Is slightly sensational In charac
? 1st la that It Is charged gross nepot?
ism prevails end that the trustees
leave Interfered in the management
at the college. The letter of Presi?
dent Meli Is especially Interesting.
Th report on conditions at Clemson
la as follows:
In view of the fact that a great
has been said in the press of the
as to conditions st Clemson
i, and also In view of the fact
euch a large sum of money Is
expended there by its board of
your committee felt It In?
tent upon them, ss far as time
to make a somewhat
there has been a de?
of t% operation between
and* the president and be?
ttle president and commandant
m the serious detriment of the Insti?
tution. Tha retiring president feels
that the trustees have usurped his
powers' ami by interference with the
details of the Institution, which sre
directly the duties of the president?
?ash ss discipline of cadets, orders to
'his subordinate*, taking charge of
buying the books of the library, and
dictating the curriculum?made a
. successful administration impossible
The trustees feel that the president
i has failed to exert the authority giv
' an him. end by this failure has mado
R Imperative* for them to exert ac?
tivities slong lines they would hav?
been glad to leave to him. Regard
lees of who Is right In these cHlms.
your committee feels thst for the fu?
ture good of Clemson. it Is n^eseary
\ that a strong man be electe 1 presi?
dent: thst he be made the real head
of the Institution; that he be given
all the powers to ensble him tu thor?
oughly control and operate the en?
tire Institution. As an evidence that
U Is the Intention of the trustee* to
remedy the above evil, we quote the
following resolution, which was pans"
ed by a meeting In July, 1J>03.
"That a committee of threo be ap?
pointed by the chairman to take Into
"onslderatton the revision ->f the by?
laws end. In consultation with the
I president of the college, report such
change* as In their judgment are
necessary to secure the following re?
sults: 1. Define the powers and du?
ties of the president of the college, so
that he shsll be the absolute head of
ths collegs. to be held responsible for
Its satlsfsctory working and success.
To define the relation of the trus?
tees of the college snd their duties as
inspectors and legislators, seeking to
secure the best results at a minimum
of expense; the idea being that the
trustees shall direct and control the
pcllcy of the OOlhge under genernl
rules snd rsgulstlons. while the fac?
ulty shsll carry them out under or?
ders of the president of the college,
who shsll slone set ss Intermediary
between the trustees and the various
heads of departments, and shall be
held responsible for result*. 3. To
secure the co-ordination snd co-oper?
ation of the various departments of
the college with a view to economy
and efficiency and a clear definition
of duties of the various officers of the
Under this resolution a committee
was appointed und has reported a
iitw set g| by-laws. These have bo-ui
adopted by the board, and w* hope
they will prove satisfactory.
We append |0 this repon a com?
munication from Dr. Meli. retiring
president, furnished us upon our re?
quest that hs give us hit views as to
?hod April, ISM. 'Bo Jost mi
how the future welfare of the college
could be best subserved. Af er re*
cetving this communication fiom Dr.
Meli, we Invited the present and abn
the former president of the board of I
trustees to a confernece with us, and
asked them about the matters reler?
red to by Dr. ]|ell. concerning all of
which they gave us freely and frank?
ly, full information. We Arid that
there was a woeful lack of appreoia-1
tion between the board, or some
members of the board, and the presi?
dent. The president attributing his
partial failure to make his adminis?
tration a success to the interference
ty certain of the trustees, and the
trustees attributing the same to the
Incompetency of Dr. Meli as an ad?
ministrative officer. We are not inn
p< si tion to render a decided opinion
upon all the matters in qeustlon, but
we nelleve there is truth in both con?
tentions, in some respects.
It seems to be conceded by all that
on account of the reasons for its
establishment, and the manr.er of its
support, Clemson should be primari?
ly an agricultural college, and it
seems to your committee that the au?
thorities have failed to obtain the de?
sired result along these llr.es. The
trustees to whom we have talked
seem to fully realize this, and assure
us that their plans for ihe future em?
brace a determination to spare no ef?
fort or money In making tho agricul?
tural department all that could be
We recommend that section 1312
of volume 1., Code of 1902, in refer?
ence to the meetings of the board of
trustees, be repealed. The board can?
not properly perform the many, du?
ties of directing a large institution by
having only two meetings a year. The
treasurer's report of Clemsc n College
shows that the trustees receive pay
for more than two meetings a year,
and, in our opinion, the section
should be repealed, and thus make
clear their right to do so.
This section was originally a part
of a special act for the purpose of
winding up the affairs of the old agri?
cultural department of the State,
which duties were Imposed upon tho
trustees of CUmsorv College, and was
not Intended to apply to th< meet'ng*
of the board for other purposes. But
when the Coda of 1902 was adopted.
It was incorporated In the article on
Clemson College, and as it stands
therein and without looklrg Into its
history, it would appear to apply to
any meetings of the board. Wc do
pot believe this was ever Intended,
and therefore recommend Its repeal.
We renew the following recommen?
dation of the last report of thi< com
"This committee has for several
years called the attention of ibe Gen?
eral Assembly to the fact hat a ma?
jority of the board of trustees of
Clemson College Is not under the con?
trol of the State; and whlb; this com?
mittee has no evidence whatever that
the trustees appointed jnder the
Clemson Will are not Ju?t as loyal,
just as competent, and jus: as watch?
ful of the Interests of the State, yet
we believe the sooner the State can
by any means whatever get entire
control of appointing tho board of
trustees, the better It will be for the
welfare of Clemson College. We call
the attention of the General Assem?
bly to the former reports made by
this committee, and recommend that
steps be taken to ascertain If under
the Clemson Will there Is any pos?
sible way for the State to obtain en?
tire control. While there has been
no friction between the trustees un?
der the Clemson Will and the trus?
tees of the State, yet we believe that
it would be best for the State of
South Carolina and the college, even
If It should cost an appropriation of
an amount equal to the original valu?
ation of the Clemson bequest, for the
State to make the expenditure and
gain entire control of the appoint?
ment of the trustees."
Your committee refers you to the
report of the treasurer au to the ex?
penditure of money by this institu?
tion. It is impossible for us, In the
very short time given to this Investi?
gation, to go Into each expenditure,
but as far as we can judge, they are
correct, and the bouks are well kept.
We do not think it advisable for
the Legislature to take any radical
action at this time, as WS h >p?? that,
with a new set of by-laws and a new
president, conditions will soon be
T. I. BOGE RS
On the part of the Sonate
I W. DUVALL,
L. M. LAWSOX,
Oh tho part of ihi House.
Senator T. I. Rogari and Representa?
tives L Mi Lawaon and f: vv Du?
val, Committee of the General As
Sirs?In accordance with your re?
quest. I furnish you with the follow?
ing Infor-nation concerning the
id Fear not?Let all the tends Thon Ali
[*ER. S. C., WEDNES
. dltions which have prevailed at Clcm
son Agricultural Colege for sohk*.
years, resulting In serious opposition
I to good government and the proper
management of the affairs of the In?
1. The hoard of trustees have in
the past Interfered too much wu.i
the duties of administration, which
belong in all well-regulated Institu?
tions to the president of the college
and his colleagues. The committees
of trustees have been accustomed to
meet frequently at the college for the
purpose of enforcing the order3 of
the board, instead of leaving to the
president, of the college this respon?
sibility, which by right belongs to his
office. For illustration I cite the fol?
The tarnt? directed by a commit?
tee of trustees without consultation
with the president of the college.
A committee of trustees talcing
minute charge of all details of work
and construction and cultivation of
crops on the Coast Experiment Sta?
tion, near Summerville, when ali
such matters she old be under the
president of the college and In airect
charge of the director of the Experi?
Prior to April, 1908, Interfering
with the discipline of the corps of ca?
dets by setting the action of the fac?
ulty aside in more than one instance.
A resolution passed in March, 19G8,
however, corrected this evil for the
present and enabled the discipline
committee to control the situation
when the cadets left the college April,
The budget taken out of the hands
of the president of the college and
placed in charge of committees of
trustees who In v \ prior to December,
1909, consulted directly with th? offi?
cial* who are under the president. At
the last meeting of the board an ef?
fort was made to correct this prac?
The finance committee of the board
assuming by board order and, by the
authority of the by-laws, full charge
of the college library, in all of its in?
terests, ordering the books and mak?
ing rules and regulations for the
proper .conduct o?.. the parties who
frequent the library. *^rtils duty of
purchasing books and making rules
for order should belong to a commit?
tee of the faculty, assisted by the lib?
rarian. Under the faculty manage?
ment the library has grown into one
of the most valuable collection of
books to be fc nd in South Carolina.
This new action of the board has
been made part of the by-laws where
it will require nine votes of the trus?
tees to correct.
The repair of buildings placed in
the charge of a committee of trus?
tees when more effective work can be
accomplished and the buildings kept
in much better condition if the presi?
dent was charged with this duty. This
is customary in most colleges.
The orders of the board are at
times promulgated by committees di?
rectly to sub-officials and the presi?
dent often Is embarrassed by not be?
ing Informed concerning these orders
until he hears of them through the
subordinate. This practice destroys
the president's authority with the of?
The walks, roads and management
of the campus are now in charge of a
committee of trustees, who direct all
matters regarding the improvement
of the grounds, tven to the details.
The president of the college has been
added to this committee, but his In?
fluence is made small by the require?
On January 28, 1909, a committee
from the State Farmers' Union visit?
ed the college to examine into Its
working. My plans were made to
entertain these gentlemen, but these
plans were frustrated by the appear?
ance of Mr. R. W. Simpson, a mem?
ber of the board, who took these far?
mers In charge, and I did not have
the opportunity of presenting the col?
lege work to these visitors. Mr. Simp?
son gave Instructions to the farmer
In charge of the carriages and order?
ed other officials In regard to the care
of these visitors and In all other re?
spects assumed the prerogatives and
duties of the president of the college
In the entertainment of and the di?
rection of these farmers through the
Serious Interference with the presi?
dent's secretary, who is a relative of
a member of the board, and causing
an unfortunate condition In my office
which I have found it impossible to
overcome, so that a competent secre?
tary could be secured to do the work
of the office, My appeal to the board
to allow me to have absolute control
of the secretary in my office because
of the confidential nature of the
work, has been unavailing. 1 found
It was necessary to call for the secre?
tary's resignation for the accomplish?
ment of good service for the college.
Tho board of trustees have set my
action asJde end the young lady has
ns't at be thy Country's, Thy God's an
JDAY. JANUARY 19,
been given leave of absence until
"the new president is elected." (See
board of trustees' minutes, Decem?
The committee of trustees Insisting
that the arrangement of the subjects
into courses shall first receive the
approval of the board of trustees befoie
they can be placed in the catalogue
Is bad legislation. This duty belongs
alone to the faculty. (See By-Laws.)
A committee of trustees taking
charge of farmers' institutes and di?
recting all the details of the work of
sending to the farmers the Instruc?
tion the college has to offer. This
work belongs to the salaried officers
j of the institution under the general
direction of the president.
Petitions and papers of every kind
intended for the board of trustees
I have in many Instances reached the
1 board direct and not through the
1 president's office. This practice has
I been sanctioned by the trustees as
1 Individuals. The president should be
I ths officer to bring every thing from
I the officials to the board, so that he
J may be well-Informed concerning all
1 matters in and about the college.
J The board of trustees are meeting
J too often, and I think the State law
I is being violated In these frequent
I meetings. There would be ess chance
I for interruption as above given If the
j meetings were only two each year.
I The Code says on this subject:
"For the purpose of carrying out
j the duties hereby devolved upon them
J the said board of trustees; shall meet
J at the call of the Governor, and at
j such time and place as h<i may deslg
I nate. They shall receive no compen
I sation, but shall be allowed their ac
I tual expenses for not exceeding two
I meetings In one year while engaged
j in the duties of the board imposed
I upon them by this article." (See
I Code of 1902, Section 1312.)
I In 1908-1909 the board of trustees
I met on: July 14,1908, Sept. 1, 1908,
j Dec. 9, 1908, March, 1908.
I In 1909-1910 the board of trustees
Jmet on: March 1909, July 8, 1909,
I August 12, 1909, Sept. 15, 1909, Dec.
j 2, 1909.
I Special attention is called to the
I Mause In the above extract fram the
j Code in regard to the expenses of the
I trustees while engaged in transacting
I the business of the college. And the
I committee of the General Assembly
I is directed to- the vouchers turned in
I by the member from Pendleton for
I his expenses who comes to the col
I lege in his buggy and has his horse
I fed by the college, and the expenses
I of the members from Greenville and
I from Walhalla. The expenses of the
J last two are reasonable. The com
I parlson is Interesting on the question
I of expenses. (See pages 131, 132.
I 133, 134, 135 of Annual Report of the
I College Treasurer, a copy of which
I accompanies this paper.)
Nepotism Is a serious drawback to
I good and efficient growth in the col
I lege, and there should be some rem
I edy for this evil. The following trus
I tees have relatives on the official
I force of Clemson Agricultural Col
R. W. Simpson?Three sons-in-law
I on the faculty.
W. W. Bradley?A brother on the
I J. E. Wannamaker?A brother-in
I law on the faculty; a nephew on the
J station staff; a niece in the office of
J the president; a relative in the treas
1 urer's office.
j W. D. Evans?A son in the treas
I urer's office; a son holding the po?
sition of fertilizer inspector.
Alun Johnstone?A nephew on the
Three other members of the col?
lege force are supposed to be related
to trustees by marriage, but I am not
in possession of accurate information
on this score.
Since the college was opened for
students, In 1893, the board of trus?
tees have appointed twenty-one of
their relatives to Important positions
In the college. There are now eleven
relatives on the present force. The
board have also appointed two of
the'r members to good salaried
places In the institution within the
past eight years.
The practice of nepotism has caus?
ed much of the troubles and distur?
bances during the administration of
my predecessors and during my term
of service as president. As an evi?
dence of the wilting influence nepot?
ism has on the official action of the
board of trustees, I will cite three in?
stances which came in my own ex?
perience in my efforts to equip the
college with strong and capable ofll
cers: March, 1908, 1 recommended
to the board of trustees a list of
mathematical experts for the chair
which had been vacated by the
death of Prof. P. T. Brodle several
months before. 1 headed this list
with the name of Dr. Otto Dunkel,
who was then associate professor of
mathematics In the University of Mis?
souri. (See attached letter from Dr.
Dunkel.) Dr. T ^ was a native
, of Virginia, a V% .ite of the Uni
I verslty of Virg. with the degre of
I Master of Arts, a graduate of Har
ver8ity of Virginia with the degree of
! Doctor of Philosophy, and also a
graduate in mathematics in Gotteng
I en University of Germany. He spoke
German and French fluently and had
a reading knoweldge of Spanish and
Italian. While abroad he studied
mathematics under some of the best
mathematicians both in Germany and
in France. There were two other
strong men on my list, but I endors?
ed as my first choice Dr. Dunkel. At
Prof. Martin's request I submitted his
application to the board for the
chair. I did not consider Prof. Mar?
tin equal to Dr. Dunkel in mathemat?
ical training. After several ballots
the board failed to elect anyone, and
after transacting other business ad?
journed to meet in July, at which
time Prof. Martin was elected, al?
though Prof. Dunkel's name was sub?
mitted by me again. Prof. Martin Is
a son-in-law of R. W. Simpson, the
former president of the board and a
life trustee. My work for the college
from that time became greatly ham?
pered and interrupted by serious dif?
ficulties thrown in my way by the
friends of Mr. Simpson on the board
of trustees. Prof. Martin was elect?
ed assistant professor of mathematics
before I became president of the col?
In 1908 I recommended vo the
board the election of a chemist for
the expert on the station staff. My
list contained a gentleman who had
received fifteen years' training In
chemical experiments and was fami?
liar with difficult station researches.
A nephew of a member of the board
was nominated by Mr. Simpson and
was elected In a few minutes after?
wards. This nephew was but recent?
ly graduated from Clemson and was
without experience concerning station
experiments. He was a bright young
man, but could not In any particular
compare with the gentleman whom I
had nominated, In age, experience
and educational advantages.
In my efforts to control my steno?
grapher, who is a niece et a trustee,
I was greatly embarrassed by the
board stepping in and siding wlUi
her in her insubordination. I found
her in the office when I accepted the
presidency in 1902. She has been
given leave of absence until the new
president shall be elected, and the In?
ference is that she will be returned
to the president's office with a salary
increased from $650 to $900. Be?
cause of this action of the board last
September I have be?n unable to se?
cure a competent assistant who will
consent to take the position with the
uncertainty hanging over it. I have
appointed eight young men -*ince lasl
September, but all have declined af?
ter looking into the situation. I have
called the attention of the board to
this unfortunate condition, but they
have declined to reconsider their de?
termination to have the niece return?
ed to the president's office after I re?
While I was in controversy with
the last commandant in the matter of
who should discharge the duties of
the president's office, Rev. Coke D.
Mann, a member of the board of
trustees, published an article in the
newspapers condemning me in my ef?
forts to control the affairs of the col?
lege, and yet he had not availed him?
self of the opportunity to inform
himself concerning my side of the
matters under consideration. Mr.
Mann was on the jury which was af?
terwards called on to decide on the
merits of the case. By his conduct
he had rendered himself unfit to sit
on the case, but he took part in the
discussions which occurred in the
board and cast his vote against me in
the final action of the trustees.
The voting of $4,000 to compensate
members of the board of trustees
(with their law partners) for defend?
ing the college in the dike litigation
is worthy of consideration by the
committee of the General Assembly.
In my efforts to develop the col?
lege Into a high-grade Institution of
science, engineering and agriculture.
I had worked out, with the assistance
of my faculty, seven courses of study
for the students to pursue, and three
of these were for the agricultural
students. But the trustees at their
meeting In December last cut out all
but one of these agricultural courses,
because they thought the Farmer's
Union demanded such to be done.
The following table will show that if
the hours of recitation as now assign?
ed to each subject are retained. In
the one course, of agriculture demand*
ed by the By*LaWS just revised, it
will be impossible for any boy to
master the subjects ol' oven do hall
the work. It will be necessary, there?
fore, for the faculty to reduce the
hours considerably on each subject,
and, under such a scheme, the
student will obtain only a mere super
<E SOUTHRON, Established Jane,
ies?Vol. XXX. So. 42.
flcial knowledge of the subject* of
college education. While the topics
are distributed over the three cour?
ses given In the present catalogue, the
student is given latitude for selection
and at the same time he receives a
large instruction on agriculture and
allied subjects. The cutting out of
the agricultural courses is a misfor?
tune and I am satisfi ed that time and
wise counsel will snow the board of
trustees the wisdom of restoring these
courses, and to leave thin batter of
the arrangebent of the subjects into
courses in the hands of the faculty
who are better qualified by training
and experience to adjust the subjects
in the best classification for good re
When I ten lered my resignation,
in July, 1909, the board of trustees
were informed that my reasons for
resigning were because:
1. The frequent interference in the
administration of the college affairj
by the trustees.
2. Selecting the officers of the col?
lege without allowing the president
a larf e shar-i in determin ng who
shall ill these positions. This will
3. The need of reorganization of the
military department, so that the re?
cent e.ttitude of the last commandant
against the president may not again
The board of trustees refused to
accept my resignation and adjour?
ned to meet in August. Before ad?
journing, however, they passed the
' That a committee of three be ap?
pointed by the chairman to take into
consideration the revision of th?i by?
laws, and, in consultation with th9
president of the college, report such
changes as in their judgment are nec?
essary to secure the following results:
1. Define the powers and duties of
11 the president of the college, so that
he shall be the absolute head of the
college, to be held responsible for its
satisfactory working and success. 2.
To define the relation of the trustees
of tie college and their duties as m
pectors and legislators, seeking to se?
cure the best results at a minimum
oX exper^e; the idea bcin* that the
I trustees shall direct and control the
policy of the college under general
rules and regulations, while ihe fac?
ulty shall carry them out under the
orders of the president of the college,
who shall alone act as the intermed?
iary between the trustees and the
various heads of departmens, and
shall be held responsible for results.
3. To secure the co-ordination and
co-operation of the various depart?
ments of the college with a view to
ecoromy and efficiency and a clear
definition of duties of the various of?
ficers of the college.'* .
Mr. Alan Johnstone. the chairman,
appointed on this committee the fol?
lowing trustees: Senator B. R. Till
man, Messrs. R. W. Simpson and W.
I desire to say to the committee of
the General Assembly that the fol?
lowing members of the board of trus?
tees have stood by me in my efforts to
build Clemson Agricultural College
into a high-grade institution of agri?
culture, engineering and scienev \Jz.:
Senator B. R. Tillman, Messrs. R E.
Bowen, If. L. Donaldson, B. H.
Rawl, Jesse H. Hardin, John G.
Richards. Mr. R. [. Manning has
been on the board of trustees so
Short a time I cannot speak intelli?
gently concerning his probable atti?
tude on the questions disturbing the
college. I believe, however, that he
will take a stand with the gentlemen
mentioned above in all those matters
which are for the well-being and best
interests of Clemson Agricultural
College. Mr. J. E. Wannamaker has
on many occasions supported the
president in his plans for the best in?
terest of the college; like the other
gentlemen, he is an independent
thinker, as he should be, but I think
his sympathy has been with the pres?
ident when he thought this officer
was right. Mr Wannamaker, how?
ever, has several relatives on the col?
lege force and I do not know what
would be his attitude if the *"sc was
In submitting this paper I wish it
to be distinctly understood that I
have endeavored t<> withdraw all per?
sonality from the accounts I have
Hiven, and 1 would be greatly disturb?
ed if I thought that I had said any?
thing which would bring trouble up?
on innocent parties. I desire also O
say that my colleagues on the faculty
and on the college force of officers
have stood by me loyally in the work
of the college! and 1 have no critic?
ism to make against any one of these
gentlemen; they are all loyal to the
college and its interests. If the evils
I have tried to relate in this paperare
corrected I am confident Clem-^i
Agricultural College -VN i 11 uro\v into
the finest Institution in the entire
Respectfully, P. H. MELD.