UT 'Sex Week' Funds Cut After Conservative Backlash

Mar 23, 2013

The University of Tennessee pulled funding for "Sex Week" after conservative lawmakers complained, but some critics still aren't happy.

The school's student-produced Sex Week caught the attention of several national conservative websites, outraged at scheduled events that included, "How Many Licks Does It Take..." to discuss oral sex, a "Golden Condom Scavenger Hunt" and a drag show.

Local politicians objected as well, notably, state Sen. Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) and the conservative Family Action Council of Tennessee, according to the Times Free Press. Campfield sent a letter to colleagues calling funding for the university into question because of the event.

On Wednesday, less than two weeks from Sex Week, Chancellor Jimmy Cheek announced the school would remove state tax money from the Sex Week budget -- two-thirds of the total, or $11,145, according to the Daily Beacon.

University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro told the Daily Beacon "Some activities planned as part of Sex Week are not an appropriate use of state tax dollars."

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Campfield said he still wasn't pleased that $6,500 in student fees were funding Sex Week.

"It's the same as tuition dollars, because the students cannot opt out," Campfield said.

Campfield pushed back against the argument that the students attending these events are adults. "There's no age requirement to go to college," Campfield said.

"They can do whatever they want when they're not asking for tax dollars," Campfield said, adding "As long as they are a public entity, we do have a say in what goes on on campus."

UT's Sex Week includes more than two dozen events from April 5 to April 12, based on an online survey given to students. The goal is to "advocate for a comprehensive understanding of sex and sexuality and cultivate dialogue on these topics," and will include a workshop on preventing sexual assaults, tips to practice safe sex and free HIV testing.

"I'm shocked by how big of a deal this is," Brianna Rader, the creator of the event, told the Daily Beacon. "It's just 'Sex Week'; it's just sex education."

Students are now fundraising online to help keep Sex Week rolling. The Associated Press reported that Sex Week organizers received $7,000 in donations on Thursday, $1,000 of which came from Planned Parenthood.

Check out what students are saying about the controversy on Twitter using the hashtag #IWantSexWeek:

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