Proposed cuts over books face opposition in Senate

      By ANDREW COFFMAN SMITHAssociated Press

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A House budget proposal to cut $70,000 from two South Carolina universities for assigning gay-themed books to freshmen might not get much of a reception in the Senate.

      The debate could come up in Senate Finance Committee this week. But the subcommittee that writes the budget for public colleges didn't include the cuts in its recommendations. That panel's chairman is Senate President Pro Tem John Courson, and he made clear he believes the Legislature shouldn't micromanage universities' curriculum.

      The cuts would take $17,162 from the University of South Carolina Upstate and $52,000 from the College of Charleston. House Republicans pushed for it as a way to punish the colleges for book selections they believe promote homosexuality.

      Opponents argue such censorship endangers academic freedom and makes the budget discriminatory.

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