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South Carolina

S.C. lawmakers want to punish 2 colleges for assigning books on homosexuality

Thursday, February 20, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina legislators want to punish two public colleges for assigning books on homosexuality to freshmen.

The House budget-writing committee on Wednesday tentatively approved a spending plan for 2014-15 that would cut $52,000 from the College of Charleston and $17,142 from the University of South Carolina Upstate.

textbooksLast summer, the College of Charleston assigned the Alison Bechdel book, “Fun Home,” to incoming freshmen. Bechdel’s book describes her childhood with a closeted gay father and her own coming out as a lesbian.

USC Upstate assigned “Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio,” referring to South Carolina’s first gay and lesbian radio show, for a required course for all freshmen, which included lectures and other out-of-classroom activities meant to spark discussions about the book. Social conservatives complained about the colleges’ selections.

The proposed reductions in the budget equal what the colleges spent on the programs.

Rep. Garry Smith said he made the proposal after college officials refused to give students an option to read something else. Making a point requires impacting colleges’ wallets, he said.

“I understand diversity and academic freedom,” said Smith, R-Simpsonville. “This is purely promotion of a lifestyle with no academic debate.”

He said he wouldn’t oppose the books if they were part of an elective course, rather than a campus-wide requirement.

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The House Ways and Means Committee defeated by a vote of 13-10 an effort by Republican Rep. B.R. Skelton to restore the money. He argued such retribution is inappropriate.

“If we’re going to begin funding institutions on the basis of books they’ve assigned, we’re going down a road we don’t need to go down,” said Skelton, R-Six Mile, a retired Clemson University professor.

Rep. Joe Neal, D-Hopkins, called the budget action akin to using a sledgehammer to kill a gnat.

Democratic Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter said legislators have no right pushing their own personal beliefs onto colleges. Such censorship can set a troubling precedent, she said. She warned Republicans who voted against Skelton’s amendment that the punishment could negatively affect the state’s image and job recruitment efforts.

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94 more reader comments:

  1. Smh …

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:16pm
  2. Is SC this bored now?

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:16pm
  3. Somewhat. Other than constant murders/deaths and accidents, there isn't much change going on.

    Replied on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 12:35am
  4. madness

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:16pm
  5. How about we punish the lawmakers instead.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:17pm
  6. Shame that trying to pass an unconstitutional law, or punish people based on a religious belief instead of a real law, isn't a crime. If it were, the prisons would boast more Republicans than pot smokers.

    Replied on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 10:07pm
  7. Time to remove their heads from their asses.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:17pm
  8. Who in the hell are these people?!

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:17pm
  9. ignorance at best

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:18pm
  10. #asshats

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:18pm
  11. welp, if these are private schools, there is nothing to worry about since there is no state action. state schools, then fuck it. I’m glad I live outside the Bible belt.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:18pm
  12. Oh yes waste taxpayers money on this

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:18pm
  13. I wonder if this is in a required course or just an elective course that students might take. Or possible part of the reading list for a psychology course.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:18pm
  14. It's a "required" freshman common reader at the beginning of the school year.

    Replied on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:20pm
  15. Okay thank you. I still think banning the book or cutting off funds is wrong. Reminds me of a time several decades ago when a European dictatorship was in to banning a burning books.

    Replied on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:22pm
  16. As always republicans are wasting taxpayers money on stupid shit

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:19pm
  17. it’s freaking college. Whatever happened to a well rounded education?

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:19pm
  18. A well-rounded education is against the Republican theocratic agenda.

    Replied on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:32pm
  19. That is crazy. Books are good

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:20pm
  20. These lawmakers are IDIOTS!

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:20pm
  21. It is *so* ridiculous – the whole thing has been blown WAY out of proportion. College is for exactly this: “Students are encouraged to raise questions, challenge convention and develop their own ideas.” I don’t know the one from Upstate, but Fun Home (the one used at College of Charleston) is about SO much more than “gay themes,” and it is a rich, complex, and engaging read that is also VERY approachable for college freshmen because it is a graphic novel.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:21pm
  22. Academic freedom is protected by the First Amendment. This would make this legislation by these POS legislators illegal and unconstitutional.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:21pm
  23. Homosexuality is history and a way of life in the human and animal kingdom. Humans can try to deny and reject but the truth is in your faces.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:21pm
  24. While they tout the fiction book called the Bible…something wrong,very wrong America…..

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:22pm
  25. “Promotion of a lifestyle.” Wow. I don’t think these people can get any more ignorant, and then they say things like this. Amazing.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:22pm
  26. If freshman in college don’t know what the hell homosexuality is, they shouldn’t be in college. Appalled but not surprised with my state. Can’t say i like living here and this just makes things worse. -_-

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:23pm
  27. Isn’t it illegal to interfere with education?…

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:23pm
  28. I’ve got an idea! Let’s send these South Carolina lawmakers on a “fact-finding” junket to Nigeria, and while they’re over there “finding facts” we cancel their passports and refuse them re-entry into the United States for a few months, and put “the fear of God” into these yahoos. Maybe a few months of “Nigerian hospitality” might scare them into a more enlightened viewpoint (or then it could all go the other way and they could learn new tricks from the idiot running the show over there).

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:24pm
  29. SC Equality is at the state house watching the issues and broadcasting emails. It’s an hourly struggle in the South.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:24pm
  30. Is this USA? NO its South Carolina

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:25pm
  31. The next thing SC lawmakers will do is ban Will & Grace from all tv stations. LOL

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:25pm
  32. Good for those colleges for education about all topics……..not just what is in the main stream!

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:25pm
  33. Okay, how many books was I assigned to read in grade school, high school, and college that I didn’t like? A multitude, and yet I don’t see State Lawmakers making an issue out of me having to have read Silas Marner or Animal Farm or any number of other books weren’t to my liking. It’s only when the books don’t agree with the allegedly homophobic lawmakers that they take issue. Hmmmm . . .

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:26pm
  34. They are trying to only educate students need in a conservative agenda. Well SC I won’t have it as long ad I live here. I will fight it. You can’t make me think like you, I am smarter than that.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:27pm
  35. What’s the big deal. These kids are in college.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:27pm
  36. I’m sure they would’ve been just fine with it if the book had been the Bible, even though that blatantly violates the separation of religion and state. What hypocrites. The schools were right to assign the books. People need to be educated on the facts of the matter. It’s not the college’s job or obligation to protect personal prejudices and delicate sensibilities.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:27pm
  37. This makes absolutely no sense to me in California. I’ve gone to or worked at three community colleges and two state universities here and almost every class found a reason to have books about homosexuality LOL It would be strange to NOT have books about homosexuality.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:28pm
  38. College isn’t even mandatory like primary school.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:28pm
  39. yes because educating people in college is such a crime

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:38pm
  40. Can we make a warning sign posted at the border of states in the south or bible belt saying something like. warning entering..insert state name..can be haserdous to your mental and physical health?

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:45pm
  41. really?? can we hit the lawmakers in the back of the head with the books to wake them up?? OMG WTF!!

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:47pm
  42. Oh dear Lawd…. South Africa is not the best but at least our constitution say NO discrimination

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:52pm
  43. Dafuq

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:56pm
  44. Sounds like Germany in the late 30s

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:04pm
  45. This is hilarious considering they are perfectly okay with freshman in highschool reading violent books about kids murdering each other (the Lord of the Flies), or about teenage suicide (Romeo & Juliet). Love crosses the line though right? Idiots….

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:04pm
  46. WOO HOO!! Way to go South Carolina!! This just may be where things have been taken wayyyyyyy to freakin far, what are they afraid of these college kids learning? that homosexuality is natural and that people are born this way and that there is no way to “fix” it….wow…and to think I liked South Carolina, if their stupidity starts to surface more than this I will add this state to my “FU” list….

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:17pm
  47. Wow. If they had assigned books that contained text speaking against homosexuality these politicians wouldn’t have spoken a word. We are a society of double standards. There are people who only believe in constitutional rights when someone is saying/doing something that they agree with. That is one of our greatest faults.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:25pm
  48. stupid!!!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:27pm
  49. Plain and Simple…the fact that he is Bi-Racial and his name is “Barack Hussein Obama” gives these racist, discriminatory “holier than thou” as* wipes something like this to help them try and have their way over the people!? Believing this and if it was true or not, just the fact you thought about how you are now angry and betrayed! You think “He is a Terrorist” now and working against us all…WOW what an angry hatred filled world you must live in!! *STUNNED* :-X

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:34pm
  50. Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:35pm
  51. Oh my God, this is getting INSANE! All this anti-gay stuff I am reading now regardless of whether it is on the level of Uganda and Russia’s brutality or places in America, the land of the FREE?! Why are so many people threatened by those in the GLBT who deserve the same freedom to love who they are naturally attracted to and want to be with?!! T Yes, students need to learn about all types of people so this is absolutely wrong to punish colleges and censor books dealing with gay issues. I don’t understand idiots who think being gay is a choice either. If you are straight, ask yourself, could you be gay and have an all around connection with someone of the same sex?! I am sure you know the answer to that-case closed!

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:49pm
  52. lol, not going to happen

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:51pm
  53. What next? Book burning and public lynching. It sucks to be hated by so many for no reason at all.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:56pm
  54. We need to get the damn politicians out of education

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:57pm
  55. i have difficulty believing that yhe stats of S.C. is so narrow as to censor the current issues of civil rights. if the college students can’ be exposed to the primary civil rights issue inour v

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:58pm
  56. in our country yhen how do you expect them to make intdlligent decisions. college is the time for the students to grow and learn to make their own decisionz and not necessarily those of their parents and the government!

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 10:01pm
  57. Time for progress

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 10:22pm
  58. The headline is a typeo. SC law makers were upset because students were assigned BOOKS. They’re used to burning them down there, not reading them.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 10:24pm
  59. Because learning about some things is not knowledge?

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 10:28pm
  60. Censorship in higher education – forget discourse? Idiots

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 10:29pm
  61. How do people find the time and energy to go to these lengths. What is missing in their lives? I honestly don’t understand why people feel threatened by someone’s sexuality. This makes me sad and angry at the sMe time.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 10:31pm
  62. Wtf?

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 10:45pm
  63. The south is going to burn.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 10:54pm
  64. typical southerners

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 10:57pm
  65. Good bye Walt Whitman…

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 11:04pm
  66. I bet a history of the KKK, would be OKKK…

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 11:06pm
  67. The South is so predictable.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 11:32pm
  68. The stupidity.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 11:33pm
  69. I wonder if the lawmakers would take the same stand if the books were about religion (insert any religion into this thought) or maybe pornography.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 11:34pm
  70. God forbid they turn out something other than an ignorant redneck!

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 11:39pm
  71. Ironic. I was going to say the same thing he did. Denying the lgbt community or civil rights such as marriage and survivors rights as well as federal and state benefits is nothing more than “promoting a lifestyle with no constitutional leg room to stand on” seeing as how the problem with homosexuality lies with peoples’ religious beliefs. Ironic, huh.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 11:50pm
  72. II’ve never forgotten that the required reading list in my freshman English class included City of Night by John Rechy and Play it as it Lays by Joan Didion. This was in 1975. The Allison Bechtel book is one of the best written books in the last 15 years. Every freshman should read all 3 of these.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 11:53pm
  73. WELCOME TO SOUTH CAROLINA: not America, just South Carolina: where Nazi Mentality is the rule of the day…KEEP OUT OF SOUTH CAROLINA, for you ain’t in America anymore…

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 12:14am
  74. Great way to keep a closed mind closed. Instead of teaching education they teach the complete opposite..nothing. these people don’t know how to handle “different”. Its a twisted shame.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 12:28am
  75. As college freshman they are usually 18 and considered adults. Also as college students they choose the classes they take. They also have the option to drop and/or add a class. So what is the problem?

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 12:30am
  76. STAND UP, S.C.! Elections are in November–I suggest you tell these so-called lawmakers to STOP wasting your time punishing the wrong things. They want to protect THEIR values, that’s fine. Their JOB is to stand up for THE PEOPLE’s values.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 12:35am
  77. Ignorance.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 12:56am
  78. They must be taking Russia as their role model

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 12:59am
  79. FAIL!!

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:35am
  80. :3

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 5:42am
  81. Here we go.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 5:42am
  82. It’s college. Get over it….as long as they’re not socialist homosexuals.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 5:43am
  83. What is a university education but to broaden horizons and learn about things outside of your own little world? Please, there are much bigger issues in higher education.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 5:51am
  84. I think if anything starts with the word ‘south’ it should automatically be assumed that it’s stupid.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 5:58am
  85. LOL right?!

    Replied on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 6:43am
  86. i just ordered FUN HOME FROM half.com.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 6:34am
  87. Books are burning in the still air, and you know where they burn books people are next.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 7:02am
  88. College is where we learn that there is more to life than what we knew in our families and home towns. I am 58 years old. As a college freshman, at San Francisco State University, many moons ago, I took two classes that I think were fundamental to my outlook on life. One was a gay literature class. The other was a human sexuality class that included visuals. College freshman are adults. It is ridiculous to think that adults should be kept from exploring the real world that we all live in every day. That world includes homosexuals.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 7:39am
  89. The south is pathetic!!

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 7:45am
  90. Ignorance is not bliss to the people it denies the wisdom they seek.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 9:24am
  91. A new low for South Carolina

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 12:13pm
  92. What a buncha bull! I’m getting tired of this country’s close-mindedness! Things have GOT to change around here!

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 12:31pm
  93. Apparently those law makers aren’t very good at understanding the law. Last time I checked, colleges were attended by adults. They don’t have to be there. It’s their choice to attend a school to obtain a degree. Attendance is optional.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 2:18pm
  94. GOP lawmakers stop hiding the truth of who these vile scum are. state what party these losers are in your articles.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 5:29pm