South Carolina: Petition launched on state funding
Updated: March 13, 2014 at 7:00 pm
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Tabatha Holmes has established a petition at change.org to ask the South Carolina state legislature to reinstate a funding cut as a result of both the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina-Upstate that used “books on homosexuality.”
Her petition states: Funding should not be cut for a school which is promoting acceptance of diversity. This book illuminates an important part of the states history. It is morally corrupt for legislators to withhold funding in an attempt to dictate academic agendas.”
All of this started when the College of Charleston assigned its freshmen to read Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home.” According to an AP report, the book was descriptive of Bechdel’s childhood with a “closeted gay father and her own coming out as a lesbian.” [Ed. Note: Bechdel was a previous contributor for qnotes.]
The Upstate campus assigned “Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio” as a required freshman course. Rainbow Radio is the state’s first gay and lesbian radio show. Lectures and out-of-classroom activities were used as a catalyst for open discussion. However, conservatives complained about this assignment.
“The proposed reductions in the budget equal what the colleges spent on the programs,” the AP added.
Rep. Garry Smith was the author of the legislation. He said that college officials “refused to give students an option to read something else.” The Simpsonville representative said he understood diversity and academic freedom, but felt that was a promotion of “a lifestyle with no academic debate.” He opposed the books, but said that if the courses were elective, he would not have issue with this requirement.
Presently, the House Ways and Means Committee voted 13-10 to defeat the proposal. Republican Rep. B.R. Skelton (R-Six Mile) told the AP that “retribution is inappropriate.” Other legislators voice concern as well. Democratic Rep. Gilda Cobb-Huner (D-Orangeburg), said that imposing censorship “can set a troubling precedent.”
To sign, visit change.org/petitions/south-carolina-state-legislature-to-reinstate-the-funding-cut-as-a-result-of-college-of-charleston-and-usc-upstate-s-use-of-books-on-homosexuality?recruiter=1967030&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=petition_invitation.
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About the author: Lainey Millen is QNotes' special assignments writer, N.C. News columnist and production director. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 704-531-9988, x205.