UT Pulls Official Funding from ‘Sex Week’
Officials at the University of Tennessee have announced that a planned “Sex Week” on campus would no longer be receiving its funding after negative attention from state lawmakers.
Students planned events and panels beginning April 5 to discuss sex and sexuality in an educational environment. Much of the funding for the event, totaling $18,195, was to come from academic programs funded by the state, an issue that put Tennessee’s conservative lawmakers on the offensive.
In a speech Monday on the Tennessee State House floor, State Representative Bill Dunn said lawmakers should step up to protect Christians from the offensive behavior of campus organizations, citing scheduled Sex Week events “getting laid,” “sex positivity,” and “queer as a bug.”
Other events scheduled include a free HIV test, “How to Talk to Your Parents About Sex,” “Religion and Sexuality,” and “How Can UTK Stop Sexual Assault?”.
In a statement released Wednesday, UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said student funds would be allowed, but any state funding would be cancelled. “We support the process and the students involved, but we should not use state funds in this manner,” said Cheek.
The funding cut $11,145 from the event’s expected budget, leaving only $6,700 from student activity fees, secured for use by student council members.
“The university is accountable to the General Assembly, the governor and the people of Tennessee for the use of state tax dollars,” UT System President Joe DiPietro said in a statement. “The university’s three-part mission is to provide education, research and public service, and the state allocates this funding to help us fulfill the mission. Some activities planned as part of Sex Week are not an appropriate use of state tax dollars.”
In 2002, Yale became the first university to host a Sex Week event. UT would be one of the first ten universities to hold such an event. Students have started a petition to get university officials to reconsider the approval of funding needed for the event.