Thursday, May 1, 2014

S.C. Senate committee says CofC, USC Upstate shouldn't be punished for distributing LGBT books

Stavrinakis applauds vote

Posted by Chris Haire on Thu, May 1, 2014 at 11:37 AM

click to enlarge "Fun Home" has raised some eyebrows in the Statehouse - PROVIDED
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  • "Fun Home" has raised some eyebrows in the Statehouse
Yesterday, a state Senate budgetary committee took a stand for academic freedom by refusing to go along with the House's plan to punish the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Upstate, voting against a measure to strip the two schools of a combined $70,000 in funding.

Although the Senate Finance Committee did not vote for the cuts — a proposal first put forth by Rep. Garry Smith (R-Simpsonville) who objected to the two LGBT-themed books the two schools distributed to first-year students — this matter isn't settled. Both the House and Senate will have to decide together on a budget, which means that the cuts could ultimately be given the legislative thumbs up. However, even if that comes to pass, Gov. Nikki Haley, who has previously gone on record in opposition to this bit of legislative meddling, could veto the measure. Then it would be up to the two houses to override the veto.

One opponent of the funding cut, Rep. Leon Stavrinakis (R-Charleston) applauded yesterday's vote. "CofC's budget was cut in vengeful fashion for arbitrary and personal reasons, plain and simple. As a proud alumnus of the College and also a House member, I am embarrassed that we had to have this battle in the first place," says Stavrinakis, who voted against the measure in the House. "The students, faculty, alumni, and citizens across this state deserve so much better. I am committed to making sure the House follows through with the restoration of these censorship budget cuts. I believe it is critical for our state leaders to stand up and promote academic freedom and reject this kind of close minded intolerance."

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