Poplitico: SC Legislators Want to Punish Colleges for Fun Home

fun home coverSouth Carolina legislators are trying to punish two public colleges for assigning Alison Bechdel‘s praised graphic novel Fun Home. The story deals with Bechdel’s childhood and her closeted gay father and her own coming out as a lesbian.

The state’s House budget-writing committee approved cuts on Wednesday of $52,000 to the College of Charleston and $17,142 from the University of South Carolina Upstate.

Those reductions is about what each college spent on their programs that involved the graphic novel as well as other selections on homosexuality. In USC Upstate’s case, they assigned Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio for a required course for all freshmen. The course also featured lectures and other activities.

Rep. Garry Smith said:

I understand diversity and academic freedom. This is purely promotion of a lifestyle with no academic debate.

The House Ways and Means Committee defeated by a vote of 13-10 an effort by Republican Rep. B.R. Skelton to restore the money. Skelton felt this sort of retribution was inappropriate action from the elected officials.

Skelton is a retired Clemson University professor and said:

If we’re going to begin funding institutions on the basis of books they’ve assigned, we’re going down a road we don’t need to go down.

Rep. Jim Merrill, a Republican felt the whole thing was “stupid” and only to make them “feel better.” That didn’t stop him from voting down Skelton’s attempt to restore the funding.

Skelton felt he wanted to make a point and offered an amendment to force the legislators to approve every book on a college reading list. He then pulled the amendment before a vote took place.