Sex Week at UT begins Monday despite controversy | News
A controversial week-long program aimed at expanding knowledge and conversations about sex, sexuality, relationships, gender, and sexual orientation begins at the University of Tennessee Monday.
Two students, Brianna Rader and Jacob Clark, founded Sex Week in 2013, becoming one of the first 10 universities in the U.S. to host a Sex Week, joining Ivy League institutions like Harvard and Yale. Since the program's inception, prominent sexologist Megan Andelloux has led events each year at Sex Week.
Controversy has shrouded Sex Week at UT ever since the program started. In 2013, national media and local politicians, including Sen. Stacey Campfield, voiced their opposition about the event, prompting loutrage among many parents and communities.
Due to the backlash, the university pulled $11,145 from Sex Week a few weeks before the event started, citing this type of programming was an inappropriate use of state tax dollars. However, Sex Week organizers rallied, raising necessary funds to continue the event through crowdsourcing and donations.
As Sex Week drew closer in 2014, Tennessee lawmakers passed a resolution condemning the week, calling it "an outrageous misue of student fees and grant monies." Legislators then passed a second resolution, which required UT to allow students to opt out of programming they found "controversial or objectionable."
Despite political and media backlash, organizers of Sex Week maintain that the program's goal is to inform students about sex, sexual health, and safety, especially as college campuses nationally become more vigilant about sexual assaults.
On Sex Week's website it reads: "Sex Week is all about creating a safe space for everyone, regardless of personal beliefs, values, or sexual orientation. Issues surrounding sex, relationships, and gender are relevant to everyone, whether you're having sex now, later, or not at all."
A complete schedule of events can be found on Sex Week's website, sexweekut.org.
All events are free and open to the public. Sex Week ends Saturday, April 11.