May 24 2014
There’s a lot going wrong on many college and university campuses these days—including many that are publicly subsidized. So it’s refreshing to read about a university that’s doing something positive. As Lauren Cooley of Campus Reform reports:
The Center for Women’s and Gender Studies (CWGS) at the University of South Carolina Upstate (USCU) will close on July 1 and the funding, previously allocated for CWGS, will be used to teach the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Federalist Papers.
Closing the center, which hosted a controversial LGBTQ seminar this spring, will save USCU $45,000 yearly. Additional cuts at USCU will total $450,000 from the university’s budget of $92 million-a year.
The South Carolina House of Representatives wanted further cuts at both USCU and the College of Charleston, which had already seen budget cuts over mandated gay literature for freshmen students. However, the Senate was hesitant to cut funds for fear of academic censorship.
The chambers compromised by allotting the discussed funds toward teaching the provisions and principles of the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Federalist Papers, as well as “the study of and devotion to American institutions and ideals.”
The move puts South Carolina colleges back in compliance with a 90-year-old state law which requires colleges to teach students a year’s worth of courses on the nation’s founding documents.
At a time when evidence is mounting that college students are woefully illiterate in basic civics, focusing on the study our American principles and institutions is the smart thing to do to foster well-informed citizens. This course of study also benefits all students, regardless of their chosen major or future career plans.
If students choose to pursue narrower fields, including those such as gender studies, that’s fine. However, courses in these fields are oftentimes highly politicized and at odds with the views of the taxpayers subsidizing them.
Private philanthropists interested in supporting and sustaining gender studies are free to make donations to their preferred postsecondary institutions. However, when budgets are tight, the last thing we should be cutting are high-quality programs about our American Founding.