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Stand Strong Against the Bullying of College Students in SC

Last fall on “Common Cents” we revealed the absurdity of a university-funded mandatory reading program at the University of South Carolina Upstate that openly promotes the LGBT agenda. PREFACE is a first-year reading program at USC Upstate that, according to the university, “introduces students to the joy of academic inquiry.” Apparently, however, this “academic inquiry” is primarily a one-sided promotion of homosexuality and the LGBT agenda. The school’s webpage promoting the PREFACE program features a header that reads “The Best of Rainbow Radio,” with a microphone and rainbow flag as the backdrop. This page is designed to promote a reading assignment that is a collection of gay, lesbian and bisexual sex stories.

Last fall, under the PREFACE program, first-year writing students at USC Upstate began being required to read Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio, a book edited by Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge and Dr. Ed Madden, which is a collection of stories from the state’s first LGBT radio program that was founded in 2005.

According to the university’s webpage the book features the stories of “Citadel cadets and drag queens, a slam poet from Columbia and a Spartanburg school teacher, a seminary student in Atlanta and a gay Army vet just back from the Middle East, West Columbia rednecks and rural Texas tomboys, as well as South Carolina’s first lesbian Congressional candidate.” These sexually erotic stories have no place in a university setting, much less as required reading for incoming freshmen.

When students and parents objected, and asked for an alternative assignment, they were told that there was no alternative. In effect, these freshmen writing students were left with two choices:

  1. Participate in the LGBT campaign being pushed through mandatory assignments, or
  2. Change majors and/or leave the school.

Thus, under the guise of “academic freedom,” the administration of USC Upstate supported what amounts to academic tyranny.

Regardless of one’s position on homosexuality, all fair-minded folks can agree that pushing such a divisive agenda, without offering any sort of alternative, is unacceptable at a public, taxpayer-funded institution of higher learning. Appeals for balance and fairness fell on deaf ears among the administration at USC Upstate, prompting supporters of academic freedom to reach out to the legislature.

As it turns out, USC Upstate wasn’t the only publicly-funded university to promote such a one-sided agenda under the cover of “academic freedom;” the College of Charleston imposed a similar reading program last fall. In response, SC Representative Garry Smith (R-Greenville) took responsible action on an SC House appropriations subcommittee on higher education, and cut funding in the amount spent on these programs at each school. This was a clear statement that, while the administrators at USC Upstate and College of Charleston are ignoring the voice of South Carolina students and taxpayers, their elected representatives are not. I applaud Representative Smith for taking such a bold stance on behalf of all of us who are footing the bill for such academic nonsense, and the students and families who were bullied by school officials.

The colleges didn’t take this lying down, however, and are now working with several members of the SC House of Representatives to try and add an amendment to the higher education appropriations package to add-back this funding for these ridiculous programs. SC Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D-Orangeburg) and B.R. Skelton (RINO – Pickens) are working to do USC Upstate’s and the College of Charletson’s bidding, and are leading the charge for an add-back amendment.

Caving on this principled stand now would further embolden our taxpayer-funded universities to undermine the will of the people of our state, undermine our state’s constitution with regard to marriage and the family, and use our hard-earned money to do it.

CALL YOUR SC REPRESENTATIVES IMMEDIATELY AND TELL THEM TO OPPOSE ANY AMENDMENT THAT WOULD ADD-BACK STATE FUNDING FOR THESE PRO-LGBT MANDATORY READING PROGRAMS AT USC UPSTATE AND THE COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON. Tell your members to stand with SC Rep. Garry Smith (R-Greenville). Visit www.SCStatehouse.gov on ways to contact your legislator.

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