South Carolina Legislature Punishes State Universities for Assigning LGBT-themed Books

Category: Free Speech
Schools: College of Charleston

On June 12, 2014, in a deeply disappointing development, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley approved a provision in the state’s budget that punished two state universities—the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Upstate—for including LGBT-themed books as required reading for freshmen. The troublesome provision required the two institutions to spend the same amount of funds allocated in 2013 on the LGBT-themed books to instead teach the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Federalist Papers, “including the study of and devotion to American institutions and ideals.” FIRE wrote to Governor Haley on March 12, 2014, to urge her against punishing state institutions for their choice of curriculum.

There is currently no media coverage for this case.
  • Banned Books Week: When FIRE defended the right to read

    September 29, 2017

    In honor of Banned Books Week, today we’re reflecting on memorable FIRE cases involving access to literature. Access to a diverse literature — and the freedom from the fear of punishment for utilizing that access — is one of the most important educational resources a university can offer its students. FIRE proudly defends the students’ right to access literature and professors’ right to assign controversial works. Crafton Hills College: Trigger warning for graphic novel coursework In the spring of 2015, a student and her parents pressured Crafton Hills College to add a trigger warning to an English course syllabus on […]

    » Read More

  • South Carolina Budget Punishes Colleges for LGBT Books, Violates Academic Freedom

    June 13, 2014

    In a deeply disappointing development yesterday, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley approved a provision in the state’s budget that punishes two state universities—the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Upstate—for including LGBT-themed books as required reading for freshmen.

    » Read More

  • In Letter, FIRE Urges South Carolina’s Governor to Uphold Academic Freedom

    March 13, 2014

    By now, Torch readers know about the budget controversy in South Carolina, where some state legislators are trying to reduce the annual budgets of the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Upstate by the amount of money each school spent on required reading programs that included books on LGBT topics ($52,000 and approximately $17,000, respectively). To date, legislative amendments aimed at restoring the funding have failed. So yesterday, FIRE wrote to South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (PDF) to urge her to ensure that state lawmakers do not punish state institutions for their choice of curriculum.

    » Read More

  • South Carolina House Votes to Punish Schools for Book Assignments

    March 11, 2014

    Last month, South Carolina’s House Ways and Means Committee voted in favor of budget cuts to the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Upstate by amounts matching the money each school spent on required reading programs that included books on LGBT topics ($52,000 and approximately $17,000, respectively). State Representative Garry Smith made clear that the proposal was meant as a punishment for the schools’ choices in reading materials: an illustrated memoir about a lesbian woman and her gay father, and a nonfiction account of South Carolina’s first gay and lesbian radio show.

    » Read More

  • Ignoring Academic Freedom, South Carolina Legislators Aim to Punish Public Colleges for Choice of Books

    February 21, 2014

    It seems like just minutes ago that I was writing about the Tennessee legislature’s ill-considered attempt to silence discussion on campus by prohibiting the payment of outside speakers. Wait a second—it was. Unfortunately, I’m not done, because there’s more deeply depressing news on the state legislative front this morning.

    » Read More