Two public colleges in South Carolina are about to get hit with budget cuts because they dared assign books to incoming freshman that DARE characterize homosexuality as something other than a terrible sin to be discussed only in whispers. One of the offending selections was Alison Bechdel's Fun Home.
Like fucking Fun Home could possibly be the most scandalous thing you'd encounter as a college freshman.
The Associated Press reports that Fun Home was assigned to all incoming freshmen by the College of Charleston, while Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio, about the state's first gay and lesbian radio show, was included in the readings for a required course at the University of South Carolina Upstate. The choice of Fun Home in particular caused conservatives to shit bricks, as per this AP report from last July:
"If this book were a magazine it would be wrapped in brown paper," said Oran Smith, director of Palmetto Family Council. "We reviewed every book assigned in SC this year. Many were provocative. This one is pornographic. Not a wise choice for 18-year-olds at a taxpayer-supported college."
Though this might sound like an astroturf campaign by frustrated professors to make their students actually read, for once, it clearly got state politicos motivated:
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."
And so, in the 2014-2015 spending plan that's been "tentatively" approved by the House budget committee, the College of Charleston lost $52,000, while USC Upstate lost $17,142. Rep. B.R. Skelton, a retired Clemson professor, led the charge on an amendment to restore the funding, but was shot down. He withdrew another proposal, made to make a point:
Since legislators want to get so involved in college book selections, he said, they should be responsible for approving every book on a college reading list. His proposal would give that responsibility to the Ways and Means subcommittee on which Smith sits.
Too bad. I'm sure South Carolina's incoming freshman would've just loved to spend their summers reading everything Jeff Shaara's every written, with nothing but Billy Graham's autobiography to break up the monotony.
Photo via AP Images.