Post submitted by Samantha Master, former HRC Youth & Campus Engagement Manager
South Carolina legislators took a bold step against tolerance and equality last week after voting to cut almost $70,000 in funding to two South Carolina universities as retribution for the colleges assigning books that positively depicted LGBT people.
“Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel and “Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio” were assigned at University of South Carolina Upstate (USCU) and College of Charleston, respectively, as part of the colleges first-year seminar courses. The budget committee-approved funding cuts will go to the House floor for debate on March 11.
"One of the things I learned over the years is that if you want to make a point, you have to make it hurt...I understand academic freedom, but this is not academic freedom ... This was about promoting one side with no academic debate involved," said State Rep. Gary Smith, a member of the House's higher education budget committee which approved the cuts.
This deeply concerning decision sets a dangerous precedent of how South Carolina lawmakers may attempt to thwart LGBT-inclusive teaching practices throughout the state.
HRC is committed to empowering LGBT youth on colleges campuses and in their communities. For more resources for LGBT and allied college students, please visit us at http://www.hrc.org/issues/youth-campus.