University cuts Women’s and Gender Studies, will teach Constitution instead

USC Upstate will shutter the Center for Women's and Gender Studies this summer.

The funding initially cut by the legislature will go towards teaching America's founding documents.

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.

USCU Chancellor Tom Moore said the closing of the center is unrelated to the controversy over the symposium that at one-time was to include the play How to Be a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less. The play was canceled after an outcry, though the symposium continued as scheduled.

“Not only is this decision not punitive or a response to external pressure, it is part of an effort to be consistent and systematic across academic affairs in how we administer and support various programs,” Moore said.

While USCU claims that outside pressure did not have an impact on their decision, there have been grassroots lobbying for the shutdown of the CWGS.

Dr. Tony Beam, host of Christian Worldview Today on HIS Radio Network, spent several days interviewing individuals involved and reporting the unfolding debate.

“I encouraged my audience to participate in the debate by contacting their state senators,” Dr. Beam told Campus Reform.

The director of the CWGS, Dr. Lisa Johnson, will not become unemployed as a result of the closing. She will remain part of the university’s full-time faculty and will assist with USCU’s women’s and gender studies minor.

The use of the CWGS building space, which includes a lounge, has yet to be determined.

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