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A new report reveals how much time lawmakers in Tennessee have spent on a sex-related event at the University of Tennessee -- and their options for continuing to do so. Nearly six years ago, Todd Starnes, a Fox News personality, wrote a column with a headline certain to make the eyes of his conservative audience pop:. These tidbits might seem salacious, but colleges and universities nationwide often sponsor sex-related events with these types of activities -- even on other public campuses in Tennessee -- with the idea that students who are sexually active will learn how to do so in healthy ways.
The widespread publicity set off the public and horrified state Republican lawmakers, who pressured university leaders to kill Sex Week. At times, the controversy has veered into personal and ugly attacks. This week, the Tennessee comptroller of the Treasury released a report on the history of state funds with Sex Week, an inquiry ordered by the General Assembly last year and made public Wednesday during a State Senate Education Committee hearing. It includes a list of possibilities on how lawmakers can address Sex Week. Randy Boyd, University of Tennessee System interim president, pledged that Knoxville will Sex for free Knoxville allocating the fees to student groups, by which Sex Week is primarily funded.
Instead, the university will directly control nonacademic student activities. It is unclear whether this would diminish some of the programs during Sex Week. The week's organizers, the student club Sexual Empowerment and Awareness at Tennessee, or SEAT, and supporters adamantly maintain that despite the sensational format in which the material is presented, the sexual health lessons students glean from Sex Week make it worthwhile.
Thank you for the constant support. We are proud to have started this conversation on campus all those years ago. We were the first organization to bring many sex education-related topics and ideas to campus.
Sex Week usually happens in early April every year and features sessions on sex and sexuality, everything from anal intercourse -- playfully named Butt Stuff, a lesson that has generated quite a bit of flak -- to sex toys called Batteries Not Included and sex workers. In one particularly fascinating session this year, a black sex worker will present. In response, the students leased a billboard on Interstate 40 in Knoxville advertising for it, a marker of what would be their recurrent conflict with administrators and the General Assembly.
Outside of donations to SEAT, student fees were the only way that the group paid for Sex Week -- and the university in the academic year made it possible for students to opt out of their fees going toward the event. Last year, the controversy became an issue for Franklin Graham, a prominent Christian evangelist who espouses far-right views and has attracted a ificant political following. On his Facebook in April, he attacked former Knoxville chancellor Beverly Davenport, who was abruptly fired last year for what the then system president described as "very poor" communication skills Sex for free Knoxville a "lack of trust, collaboration, communication and transparency" in relationships.
Graham urged the governor to step in.
Later that month, Davenport sent a letter to the lieutenant governor and former speaker for the House of Representatives, suggesting she was embarrassed by the language used in the Sex Week sessions and stressing no state money was being used. Then came the controversy with the system Board of Trustees. The General Assembly had moved to reduce the size of the board from 27 members to 12, with 10 of those members being nominated by the governor and confirmed by representatives from both chambers in the Legislature.
It seeks nothing more than to glorify depravity, and it takes the name of the university and drags it through the trash that we have seen touted as educational in lofty phrases and terms. Human sexuality is a legitimate academic field of inquiry and should be approached in a scholarly manner.
It is not a circus by which the dignity of the human person is denigrated and besmirched. What a betrayal. Thus, we are here where the sequence of events from divergent paths cross. This governor and this Legislature seek new leadership and new perspectives in the governance of the University of Tennessee. And the events on the flagship campus made us a spectacle and a national embarrassment again. So, for those candidates for confirmation here, present, heed my words. We expect better. And we expect lots better.
None of the original board members were confirmed. One hopeful initially on the board withdrew from consideration. Boyd and interim chancellor Wayne T. He and Davis wrote a t letter to the comptroller saying that too much of the event had focused on the sensational, and noted that discussions with the student leaders, asking them to focus on human sexuality just as an academic pursuit, have failed.
Other suggestions by the comptroller were that Knoxville could declare that it is the sole provider of sex-related education on campus, which would also effectively ban Sex Week. The comptroller also noted that Knoxville could start to charge for use of its facilities.
Right now, student groups use them for free, which again, would likely make Sex Week more difficult to pay for. Heminway, the faculty adviser, said that she appreciates the legislators using a real fact-finding arm -- the comptroller -- because of widespread misinformation about Sex Week. But what I understand from going to some of these programs is that things students may be doing otherwise are harmful to themselves or others. East Tennessee State University planned multiple sex weeks in andthough there was backlash, and the student government denied the organizers money, forcing them to crowdsource for it.
Sex education weeks are generally a fun way to raise awareness about an issue that is deeply minimized in Tennessee, said Emi Canahuati, a board member of the Tennessee Alliance For Sexual Health. She also runs a business called Talk and Thrive, which consults with parents and others on discussing sex with children.
In Tennessee public schools, children are only taught abstinence education. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has indicated that the rate of sexually transmitted diseases is growing in the mid-South, and nationally. And in Tennessee, the rate of people diagnosed with chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in was up by double digits from the year, WMC 5, a local television station, reported.
She said colleges should not be taking away opportunities for sex education -- such as they seem to be doing with Sex Week at Knoxville -- but providing more. We have retired comments and introduced Letters to the Editor. Share your thoughts ». Expand Sex for free Knoxville Hide comments. View the discussion thread. Advertise About Contact Subscribe.
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