Politics

South Carolina Lawmaker Wants to Punish Colleges for Gay Books

| by Michael Allen

Republican lawmakers in South Carolina want to cut the budgets of the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina (USC) Upstate because the schools offer courses that include gay-themed books.

The S.C. State House of Representatives voted in February to reduce funds for the  College of Charleston by $52,000 and the University of South Carolina Upstate by $17,162, noted the Christian Science Monitor.

The money could be voted back in on March 10 when lawmakers vote on their 2014-2015 fiscal budget.

State Rep. Garry Smith (R), who proposed the cuts, said he got a letter from an offended voter whose 17-year-old daughter is going to the College of Charleston.

"I think the university has to be reasonable and sensible to the feelings and beliefs of their students," Smith told CNN. "That was totally ignored here. I was trying to hold the university accountable."

"Their stance is 'Even if you don't want to read it, we'll shove it down your throat,'" claimed Smith. "It's not academic freedom, it's academic totalitarianism."

However, the College of Charleston says that if a student is offended, he or she can could move to another class where "Fun Home," a book about the author coming out as a lesbian, is not assigned.

USC Upstate assigned the book "Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio" as summer reading for freshmen, but says students can take the class (without the book) in their second year if they want to.

Smith says many people have told him that they support the proposed cuts against the schools.

"They appreciate me taking a stand," said Smith.

Sources: Christian Science Monitor and CNN

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