US: South Carolina Senate tells universities to teach ‘American ideals’ instead of ‘gay books’
South Carolina’s Senate has reversed cuts made to two Universities attacked by Republicans for stocking ‘gay themed’ books, but only if it spends the money teaching about ‘American ideals’ instead.
In February, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives had voted to cut a total of $70,000 (£41,500) in funding from the University of South Carolina Upstate and the College of Charleston, over the teaching of “gay-themed” books.
The books in question were Fun Home, the autobiographical graphic novel by Alison Bechdel, and Out Radio, which recorded the state’s first gay radio station.
The House Republicans had later refused to restore the funding, and warned of further consequences after the Off-Broadway musical based on Fun Home was performed at the College.
However, yesterday the Senate partially overruled the decision after a week-long debate, passing a budget that restored the funding based on several conditions.
According to Reuters, the measure requires that the institituions offer alternative books to students who object to “religious, moral or cultural belief”.
In addition, the restored $70,000 must be used to teach “the study of and devotion to American institutions and ideals”, such as the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
Alison Piepmeier, a professor at the College of Charlston, said: “That’s not academic freedom. It’s academic bartering.
“They’re saying you can teach what you want as long as you teach what we want you to teach.
“LGBT issues are not radical to my students, even students from conservative households.”