Monday, March 10, 2014

Censorship In South Carolina

Over the years, I've read many stories about censorship in American schools and the continuing tug-of-war to shield children from what some consider adult topics. Today's article about South Carolina is a first. Apparently, some people don't consider college students mature enough to handle adult topics if they don't read about them on the internet all by themselves.

The whinging started over an email written to a state politician by parents of a prospective college student. The fact that the parents in question were not just average voters isn't mentioned but I think that little detail can be reasonably assumed. We all know the level of attention a single email from an average citizen gets in the political arena, but I digress.

The parents complained that College of Charleston (a public university) has a required course that assigns LGBT literature and they didn't want their freshman daughter exposed to such things. I think it's reasonable to assume those books weren't m/m erotica. After all, this is College of Charleston not UC Berkeley but I suppose anything is possible.

The politician (Republican Garry Smith) has decided to retaliate on behalf of the offended parents by cutting a chunk out of the budget for universities that have such a blatant disregard for conservative values. Before you get too excited, the chunk in question is minute...seventeen thousand at one university and fifty-two thousand at another. It's not as if the state legislature is attempting to close the campuses but it makes a definite statement; one Representative Smith openly admits is in retaliation for forcing students to read LGBT-related literature. 

I can see the point of the protest. The reading is mandatory and some students will no doubt be offended by it. They should have an alternative course or book available for those who are so overly sensitive they consider it a sin even to read about such things (the poor hopeless darlings). However, I take issue with political leaders punishing a public institution with budget cuts just because the administrators refuse to redesign the curriculum. At best, that's bullying. Many people would call it extortion. It's the sort of childish hostility I've learned to expect from the political arena and spend a considerable amount of time protesting.  

The budget cuts haven't been approved yet. They are still working their way through the House toward the Senate and eventually the Governor's office. Feel free to send a note to Governor Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) asking her to line item veto that petty piece of legislation from the budget bill.

Or, if you prefer you can scrape together some money this summer and send a check to the universities. It won't take many people to make up the budget deficit. One dollar from each pissed off LGBT activist and ally should more than cover it.

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