S.C. Senate Is Urged to Reject Penalties for Colleges Over Gay-Themed Books

Top officials of the American Association of University Professors, the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Modern Language Association, and other groups are urging South Carolina’s State Senate to reject attempts by the House of Representatives to penalize two colleges that assigned books with gay themes to incoming freshmen.

This month the House moved to strip the College of Charleston of $52,000 in the state budget and the University of South Carolina-Upstate of about $17,000, citing concerns that the reading assignments were out of line with taxpayers’ values. The College of Charleston had assigned Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, by Alison Bechdel, and the Upstate campus had chosen Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio, edited by Candace Chellew-Hodge and Ed Madden.

The National Coalition Against Censorship and several academic groups, including the AAUP, the ACRL, and the MLA, on Monday sent a joint letter urging the Senate’s finance committee to restore money to the two colleges, saying that the proposed cuts “undermine the fundamental mission of higher educational institutions, which is critical analysis and free and unfettered debate.”

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