Governor Nikki Haley today shared her opinion of state lawmakers punishing public colleges for course content they find offensive.
“There are boards of colleges for a reason. We allow the boards and we allow the presidents make those decisions,” Gov. Haley said. ”I have never micromanaged how any college or university does anything.”
State Rep. Garry Smith, R-Greenville, and State Sen. Mike Fair, R-Greenville support targeted funding in the state budget for the College of Charleston and USC-Upstate for using gay-themed literature and plays.
Fair said a satirical performance entitled, “How To Be A Lesbian In 10 Days Or Less,” presented by USC Upstate was “recruiting lesbians.”
The Upstate school backed down. The College of Charleston has not, but the political move has had a chilling effect on the new course offerings.
South Carolina Radio Network asked Haley if she felt it was appropriate to penalize colleges for what they decide to offer their students.
“That’s a board decision, it’s not a state decision,” Haley said. “So when it comes to things of higher ed, that’s the reason we have a board. That’s the reason we have a president. That’s the reason we should let them make the decisions that are in the best interests of their students.”
Haley addressed this question at an event to award the Governor’s Professor of the Year for 2014. She honored Dr. Milind Kunchur, professor of physics at the University of South Carolina in Columbia and Christopher Hall, criminal justice instructor at Central Carolina Technical College in Sumter.
Haley’s father was once a biology professor at Voorhees College in Bamberg County.
Hall told South Carolina Radio Network that the lawmakers’ action trouble him too. “I think we’ll end up slanting education. We’ll end up teaching one side of the issue and not the other, depending on which group or party is in power.”
“Often in my classroom, I find out what side of an issue a student is on and make them on purpose take the other side so that they can see the merits of both sides of a problem or issue,” Hall said.