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ACLU enters "College Reads!" debate as State Rep. apologizes for harsh email

ACLU enters

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The American Civil Liberties Union is now getting involved in the on-going debate of funding college reading program.

Last month, state House members voted to cut the $52,000 of funding for the, "College Reads!" program at the College of Charleston because of a controversial book.

"Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic," is a book about the relationship between a lesbian daughter and her gay father. Several lawmakers said they disagreed with the content of the book and wanted to slash the funding of the program because the book was required reading. School officials deny that.

"Education needs to be free of attempts to censor anything that politicians find offensive," ACLU's Executive Director Victoria Middleton said.

Middleton sent a letter to the Senate Finance Committee asking them to reinstate the funding of the program. The ACLU and five other national organizations co-authored that letter.

Students at the College of Charleston have also voiced their concerns over keeping politicians out the classroom.  Recently, the Student Government Association unanimously passed a resolution asking lawmakers to refund the "College Reads!" program.

When the Vice President of the organization, Chris Piedmont, emailed the resolution to lawmakers, one Representative fired back.

"Chris, out of one side of your moth you demand that we fund your school and many of your educations, yet, out of another side of your mouth, you demand we stay out of your school and your education," Representative Stephen Goldfinch said in an email.

Rep. Goldfinch also referred to the book at the center of this debate as, "pornographic and obscene."

"I felt it was disrespectful to all of the students at the College of Charleston," Piedmont said. "We may not be his direct representatives but we do have a say in this matter."

Rep. Goldfinch apologized for the tone of his email but stands by the message that the College of Charleston should not have offered this book to students.

"I responded in anger, and I apologize for responding in anger, but the content of the email, the bottom line is still very valid," Rep. Goldfinch said. "We should not be promoting any agenda with tax payer dollars."

The Senate Finance Committee will begin discussing the funding of the program later this week. Goldfinch said he is "confident," the Senate will uphold cutting the funding from the College of Charleston.

The house also voted to cut funding to the "College Reads!" program at the University of South Carolina's Upstate campus because of a controversial book.

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