University of Tennessee Cuts Funding For 'Sex Week'

Noted lesbian bondage and leather expert featured speaker at UT

sinclairsexsmith nChancellor Jimmy G. Cheek said today the campus will not use state tax or tuition dollars to fund Sex Week.


Cheek said that after reviewing the final agenda for the student-programmed event he determined that it should not be funded by state tax dollars.

“We support the process and the students involved, but we should not use state funds in this manner,” Cheek said.

The organization will retain $6,700 in student programming dollars but $11,145 from academic programs and departments will no longer be available.


"The university has long recognized the right of students to engage in free speech activities on campus and organize programs for the student body using student activity fee monies," reads a statement on the schools website. "Student-run programming boards consider applications for programs and allocate student activity fee monies to those that encourage broad student participation and interest and contribute to the students’ intellectual development."

Sex Week is scheduled for April 7-12. There are 30 events planned including “Getting Laid,” “Sex Positivity; Queer as a Verb,” “Bow Chicka Bow Woah,” “How to Talk to Your Parents About Sex,” “Loud and Queer,” and “How Many Licks Does It Take…” – a workshop about oral sex.

In addition to a campus-wide scavenger hunt for a golden condom and a "Drag Show," the university is hosting noted lesbian bondage expert and erotica author Sinclair Sexsmith. Sexsmith, who serves on the board of the New York Lesbian Sex Mafia, will deliver a lecture titled, “Messing Around with Gender.”

The event is sponsored by the university’s Sexual Empowerment and Awareness at Tennessee club.


UT System President Joe DiPietro said he supports the decision to withdraw funds.


“The University is accountable to the General Assembly, the governor and the people of Tennessee for the use of state tax dollars,” DiPietro said. “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.”

Tennessee Sen. Stacey Campfield brought before the education committee a motion to ask the finance committee to hold the UT budget until the administration explained its position on funding the event. Both moves were approved without opposition.

"I think UT knew up front that short of an announcement canceling the event they could expect the grilling of a lifetime," Campfield said.


 The UT System is studying and evaluating the funding and planning of student activities at all UT campuses and institutes.

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