Last night, when state Sen. Stacey Campfield blogged about the University of Tennessee's upcoming sex week, we got a bad feeling about things. Even though the "news" about Sex Week is hardly news -- it was announced in early January, and the organizers having been working on it since last year -- we could just see the coming conservative storm on the horizon.
Sure enough, about an hour ago, Campfield posted the following to his blog:
I just sent this letter to my fellow members of the education committee.
First of all, we should note that the Townhall.com story and the Fox News story are the exact same piece, cross-posted. But we've also seen some notable conservatives start tweeting about it this morning, so expect this "controversy" to only get more attention. And since the legislature is now involved, who knows where this will end.After reading this articleand another in FOX NEWS verifying this same story, I think it is well in order for us to reconsider our actions (passing the UT budget on Wednesday) and would like to make that motion so UT can either verify or deny publicly these incredible allegations.If you have any problem with my making that motion I ask that you contact me so I can understand your reasoning.Yours in service,Sen. Stacey Campfield
Personally, we think it's great that UT students are working towards a sex positive campus -- $20,000 seems like a bargain to increase awareness of sexual assault, provide free HIV testing, and improve UT's reputation as a progressive school. (Other colleges, like Yale and Harvard, have been hosting sex weeks for years and years.) And if a few students learn how to give better oral sex out of it too, why is that a bad thing? Why shouldn't our tax dollars fund orgasms? Shouldn't we rather do that than quashing mental health services for gay students?
The UT administration officials quoted in the TownHall/Fox News story seem supportive. Spokesperson Karen Simpson says, "The university is providing funding for this workshop because it covers a wide range of issues that are beneficial to our students." But if it comes to funding actually being cut, will UT stand by its guns? They certainly won't stand up for their gay employees in the face of the legislature. But maybe students, paying student fees out of their own (parents') pockets, are a different matter.