The Southeastern Women’s Studies Association (SEWSA) supports academic freedom and stands in solidarity with the faculty, staff, and students at the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Upstate. We also support their work to bring visibility to LGBTQI issues and promote equality for LGBTQI individuals and communities.
The South Carolina General Assembly has threatened punitive fiscal measures aimed at the College of Charleston and USC Upstate 2014-2015 operating budgets for their respective use of lesbian and gay themed books in their fall 2013 first-year reading programs. Specifically, the legislature has moved to cut $17,146 and $52,000 from USC Upstate’s and the College of Charleston’s budgets next year, the costs of their respective selections of The Best of Radio Rainbow and Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic for college-wide first-year reading programs. In addition, the legislature has recently pressured USC-Upstate to cancel a lesbian-themed performance event.
Such homophobic tactics threaten the valuable work of diversity at these institutions. These tactics have a chilling effect on the exercise of academic freedom and the constitutionally protected right of free speech at all public institutions of higher education in South Carolina.
In “An Open Letter to My Sister, Miss Angela Davis,” James Baldwin stated, “We live in an age in which silence is not only criminal but suicidal…for if they take you in the morning they will be coming for us that night.” We are still living in that age, so we raise our voices in support of the work being done at USC Upstate and the College of Charleston.
The Southeastern Women’s Studies Association (SEWSA) is a feminist organization that actively supports and promotes all aspects of women’s studies at every level of involvement. The organization is committed to activism and scholarship that works towards eliminating oppression and discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity and expression, race, age, religion, sexual orientation, ethnic background, physical ability, and class.
SEWSA is a regional organization under the National Women’s Studies Association serving Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.