Office of the President
Message from President Michael T. Benson
Fall 2021 Operations Status
Aug. 13, 2021
Dear Coastal Carolina University Faculty and Staff,
We are excited to see students back on campus today with new student move-in and welcome week activities now underway. Even in the midst of so much uncertainty, some things remain constant at Coastal: a welcoming and inclusive campus; a caring and committed faculty and staff; an unrelenting pledge to student success; and an uncompromising commitment to the health and safety of our entire university community.
In this spirit, I remind everyone of the CCU Board of Trustees’ endorsement of our intended practice to strongly recommend the wearing of facemasks indoors. Horry County remains a very high COVID activity area and current trends suggest that this will continue. I urge all of you to take the vaccine. Medical evidence corroborates the fact that this is the best way to protect yourself from contracting COVID and its variants. If someone does happen to sustain a “break-through” case after being vaccinated, research indicates that individual is not as likely to become as ill as someone who is unvaccinated.
In the past few days, the administration explored very aggressively the possibility—and the legality—of mandating face coverings. Throughout the process we learned that the response to such a proposed action would be met with the same result experienced by both the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina. As a government entity, such a course of action is ill-advised at this time. The Attorney General has opined that mask mandates contravene both the letter and spirit of current state law.
That said, the Supreme Court of South Carolina has an issue under advisement concerning a university's authority to implement a mask mandate. It is proceeding to the highest appellate court in the state without it first going through a lower court given that expediting a ruling is in the public interest.
While we await that ruling, we will do the following: continue to remain diligent; strongly recommend all to get vaccinated; and urge everyone to wear masks indoors. The Fall 2021 Operations Plan can be accessed here. The COVID-19 dashboard will return shortly, detailing COVID cases in our community.
Thank you for your continued service to CCU!
Michael T. Benson