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Required Reading Controversy

Updated: Friday, February 21 2014, 10:29 AM EST
Some state legislators in South Carolina want to cut funding to USC Upstate and the College of Charleston over the use of gay-themed books as required reading for college courses.

At USC Upstate, the book "Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio" is required reading for freshman in English 101. A complaint from a constituent prompted Rep. Garry Smith of the Ways & Means committee to propose a cut in the university's funding equal to the amount spent on the program -- about $17,000 -- in the 2014-15 proposed budget.

"I think it's problematic or short-sighted when legislators want to cut funding for 5,000 students because of one program," said Dr. Clif Flynn, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at USC Upstate.

News 13 spoke to a half-dozen students on campus Thursday, none of whom had a problem with the class or the book, though one acknowledged that there were complaints from a small number of classmates.

"A few had a problem with the class, and I can see why," said John Coates, who took the class last semester. "But in no way do I think it was a bad selection for a freshman English class. It exposed people to a subculture that not many people in our society know much about."

USC Upstate student Jeffrey Decedue placed out of the freshman class with high school credit, but said he was not offended that the book is required reading at the school.

"It's not the lifestyle I choose to live, but I understand it is for others and I don't want to infringe upon their rights since it doesn't infringe upon mine," he said.

Another student, Emma Bouyea, noted that the book is just one of many that college students read in an effort to learn. She said just because students read about a subject doesn't mean they have to agree with it.

"It's just a book. We read plenty of other books about different perspectives or lifestyles, what makes this book any different?"

The budget must still pass through the House and Senate and be signed by the governor before the cuts would become permanent.Required Reading Controversy


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