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South Carolina proposes funding cut to colleges over 'gay books' - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

South Carolina proposes funding cut to colleges over 'gay books'

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FLORENCE, S.C .(WBTW) -

On Monday, lawmakers approved a plan to cut tens of thousands of dollars from the budgets of  USC Upstate and the College of Charleston, because a part of the schools' required reading for freshmen included books that deal with homosexuality.  

Now, concern is growing among other public universities. School officials say they're shocked lawmakers would punish schools based on gay themed books.

"This is an issue we're gonna have to pay close attention to," says Tucker Mitchell, a spokesperson for Francis Marion University. He says the cut to appropriations caught FMU's attention, but the issue extends beyond funding.

"It's just an issue that has several serious components to the university," he says.

Components like lawmakers deciding what universities can or cannot teach.

"They shouldn't cut something because they don't agree with it," says one student.

"When the government gets into the practice of legislating what type of educational materials to students can use at a public university, that's getting into a dangerous area that could lead to overstepping in other areas, as well," says another student.

Some lawmakers say the cuts are supposed to hurt. State Representative Gary Smith of Greeneville says assigning students gay themed books is, "about promoting one side with no academic debate involved."

But Representative Todd Rutherford of Columbia says he doesn't agree with the cuts.

"It is absolutely stifling academic freedom. It is mean-spirited legislation. it is unnecessary."

The senate now has to decide whether or not to go along with the plan.

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