The University of South Carolina-Upstate has decided to close a center which sponsored a controversial gay culture seminar, as school announced $450,000 in cuts Tuesday.
The Center for Women’s and Gender Studies came under fire from conservative state legislators this year after it announced plans for several gay-themed events, including a comedy show entitled, “How to Be a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less.” The show was supposed to be part of the center’s seventh annual Bodies of Knowledge symposium in April.
Several Upstate senators complained at the time, saying the event promoted gay lifestyles. Some even threatened to cut the school’s funding. “If they’ve got extra money sitting around to promote perversion, obviously they’ve got more money than they really need,”State Sen. Kevin Bryant (R-Anderson) told The State newspaper after he learned about the show. The school canceled the show after the uproar, in a move that angered LGBT groups.
USC-Upstate Chancellor Tom Moore said the cut was unrelated to the controversy. “We are reviewing programs and structures across the institution, and as a result, we are reducing administrative costs and applying the savings toward increased effectiveness and efficiency,” Moore said in a statement. “While all of these decisions are difficult, the changes impacting our Center for Women’s and Gender Studies are particularly hard given the importance of their programming and the unfortunate timing of this announcement.”
He said Women’s and Gender Studies is the only interdisciplinary minor at USC-Upstate that has its own dedicated center. Moore said the savings would come from moving some faculty and staff from 12-month positions to 9- or 11-month positions.
A release from the college noted USC-Upstate was also eliminating non-classroom programming space in its Honors Program, as well as two positions at its small downtown Greenville campus.