Staff Report

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Earlier this year, Winthrop University student Nathan Crunkilton started an online petition calling for the resignation of the school’s board of trustees.

The petition on also called for a “vote of no confidence” after what Crunkilton called “alarming and disappointing actions” associated with the hiring of interim President George Hynd.

The petition has caught the attention of many in the Winthrop community, collecting more than 1,600 signatures, as of May 6.

Crunkilton, who was a guest on the Palmetto Report podcast, said he and many others within the student body felt left in dark about the board’s handling of the change in leadership.

“The board of trustees response has been lackluster to say the least,” said Crunkilton.

Additionally, Imani Belton, Winthrop student body president, has made it no secret she wasn’t pleased with the board’s actions.

“The board’s lack communication and transparency is extremely inconsistent. Enough is enough,” said Belton.

Many students have also expressed concern about the board’s handling of the departure of former President Dan Mahony, who appears to have been forced out.

“I started the petition for the students, the faculty and the staff at Winthrop,” said Crunkilton. “I just felt compelled that what happened was wrong and we deserved to have a voice when it comes to the board of trustees and how the board of trustees handled Dr. Mahony’s departure and Dr. Hynd’s hiring.”

Matt Thrift, news editor of the Johnsonian student newspaper, wrote an article about the petition in February and appeared on the Palmetto Report podcast to discuss the issue.

“I thought it was great what (Crunkilton) was doing. I think there needs to be more student activism and I thought it was really good to see a student taking such a bold step,” said Thrift. “I really respect what he was doing with that.”

The petition is still active and has a stated goal to collect at least 2,500 signatures.

Students leaders say they’re hopeful the petition will bring about transparency in the future between students and the board of trustees.

However, it’s unclear if the petition has had any real impact.

* Shaniah Garrick, Tessra Gillyard and Bailey White contributed to this report.