Anti-Semitism is on the rise on the left (copy)

A bill aiming to define anti-Semitism on college campuses is moving through the Legislature. File

COLUMBIA — South Carolina senators Wednesday are expected to debate a bill aiming to lay out a specific definition for anti-Semitism on state college campuses.

The lack of a clearly stated definition within the text of the bill caused a slight hiccup Tuesday when Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg, questioned if it were good practice to direct college administrations to a federal fact sheet, published by the U.S. State Department, for guidance.

Additionally, Hutto said he didn't believe schools needed the guidance.

"I have heard not one university trustee that I know come up here and tell me that they were having any problems understanding how to read the dictionary or make up their own mind and needing our help on it," Hutto said.

Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Charleston, said the recent rise of anti-Semitic crime in the country has made the legislation necessary.

Senators agreed to give the bill second reading without much discussion, with the intention of amending the legislation before it receives third and final reading and is sent back to the House.

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"We want (colleges) to take this standard definition into account because there seems to be difference of opinion from campus to campus about what anti-Semitism is."

Grooms and Hutto have said they will work together to draft an appropriate amendment, which is expected to be discussed Thursday.

Reach Maya T. Prabhu at 843-509-8933.

Maya T. Prabhu covers the Statehouse from Columbia. She previously covered city government and other topics in South Carolina and Maryland. Maya has a bachelors in English from Spelman College and a masters in journalism from the University of Maryland.