South Carolina Lawmakers Cut University Funds Over Required Gay Literature
Good to see South Carolina lawmakers aren't throwing their weight around!
Legislators cut funding for two public universities after they decided to include LGBT-themed novels as part of their reading list.
No discrimination there, right??
South Carolina lawmakers voted Wednesday to cut $69,000 in funding to two public universities that had assigned gay-themed books as reading for incoming students.
The books are "Fun Home" by Alison Bechdel, a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award, and "Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio," a collection of stories broadcast on a South Carolina radio show.
The University of South Carolina Upstate would lose $17,000 for assigning "Out Loud," while the College of Charleston would lose $52,000 for assigning Bechdel's "Fun Home," a memoir told in graphic novel form, to incoming freshmen.
South Carolina's the State newspaper writes, "State Rep. Garry Smith, a Greenville Republican who sits on the House’s higher education budget committee that approved the cuts, pushed punishing the College of Charleston and USC Upstate for their book choices."
Smith told the paper, “One of the things I learned over the years is that if you want to make a point, you have to make it hurt.” He continued, “I understand academic freedom, but this is not academic freedom .... This was about promoting one side with no academic debate involved.”
One university is defending the book selections:
College of Charleston professor Christopher Korey leads the college's First-Year Experience, which oversees the summer reading program that included Bechdel's book. "The [school] committee recognized the book might be controversial for a few readers, but the book asks important questions about family, identity, and the transition to adulthood," Korey wrote in an email to the Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C. "These are important questions for all college students."
"I'm concerned that some members of the [L]egislature believe their duties include deciding what books should and should not be taught in a college classroom .... I believe that 18-year-olds benefit directly from reading and discussing difficult topics in their courses," Korey wrote, according to the Post and Courier.
The proposed funding cuts go to the House floor for debate on March 11.
How sad that South Carolina legislators are threatened by young adults being exposed to LGBT inclusive literature. Guess what, we exist.
(H/T: The Gaily Grind)