The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Right-wing Attack on Academic Freedom in South Carolina

Apr 28, 2014

The South Carolina House of Representatives recently voted to cut $52,000 from the budget of the College of Charleston, along with cutting $17,000 from the budget of the University of South Carolina Upstate, Spartanburg. On top of that, they want to appoint a new right-wing president for the College of Charleston who has no education experience and used to run a gift shop that sold Confederate Civil War memorabilia.

Legislators launched these attacks because the two colleges assigned books with gay themes. The College of Charleston assigned a book called Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, a memoir about a young woman coming to terms with her gay father’s suicide and the fact that she is a lesbian. The college faculty chose this as a book for all freshman to read in order to spark discussions. The University of South Carolina Upstate chose a similar book for a similar program.

But open discussion about gay themes is too much for the right-wingers who dominate the South Carolina legislature. They want to control what young people read, and what they think.

The outgoing president of the College of Charleston summed it up: “Is there an alternative to academic freedom? Yes, there is. It’s called oppression.”