Schools’ budget under attack

Using budget cuts to alter public education corrupts government’s relationship with universities.

South Carolina lawmakers voted last month to cut the budgets of two public universities because the universities required freshmen to read books with gay themes. The move reflects disrespect for gay and lesbian people and sets a dangerous standard for schools to uphold politicians’ social views.

Under the vote, the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Upstate would receive $52,000 and $17,000 less in public funding. A legislator told South Carolina’s The Post and Courier that they withdrew the amount the schools spent on their reading programs because their choice of books was “promoting the gay and lesbian lifestyle.”

The South Carolina state House has not finalized the budget yet, and it has planned deliberations for March 11.

The books included “Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio” and “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic,” which are about the gay and lesbian radio shows in the South and coming out, respectively.

The vote is deplorable and shows that these lawmakers don’t respect the voices of gay and lesbian people. It also tells gay and lesbian students that schools shouldn’t teach about their experiences and struggles.

Also troubling is lawmakers’ willingness to change curriculum in public schools simply because they don’t respect it. An education should challenge students to learn about diverse experiences. These lawmakers would stop students from possibly confronting their own ethics and learning, which robs them from growing.

For students in a state that is developing its laws and its relationship with gay and lesbian people, this serves as a reminder of our growth and privilege. We hope South Carolina residents and college students will tell their politicians that this budget is unacceptable.