Boyd: UT does not support Sex Week

Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury reported the findings for UTK’s controversial “Sex Week.” UT’s interim president shared the University’s position.

Interim University of Tennessee president Randy Boyd responded to the Comptroller’s Office report of Sex Week while meeting with The General Assembly’s Senate Education Committee this week.

“The University of Tennessee does not condone Sex Week,” Boyd said. “We believe it has hurt the reputation of the University of Tennessee and distracted our students and their accomplishments.”

Sex Week  at UTK has been under fire, especially in the past year. In April 2018, the Comptroller’s office requested research about the allocation of state resources.

Sex Week, which is hosted by the Sexual Empowerment and Awareness at Tennessee (SEAT) organization, began in 2013 and is held annually every spring semester. This week typically includes over 20 events that feature speakers, discussions, film screenings and performances.   

Some legislators have voiced their concerns for Sex Week since it began in 2013. For instance, Sen. Dolores R. Gresham (R-Somerville) referred to sex week as a “national embarrassment.”

The Comptroller’s report created concern about who the Student Programming Allocation Committee (SPAC) decides to approve funds for. Comptroller of Treasury, Justin P. Wilson, acknowledged that SPAC denied a christian organization’s funding request for a campus event. However, SPAC has continuously approved SEAT.

SPAC is consisted mostly of non-student university employees appointed by the chancellor and at least 40 percent of the committee are students appointed by the vice chancellor for student life. The student members are recommended by the Student Government Association.

“At a public university whose actions are funded by appropriations by a legislature, it has a fundamental duty that the money it takes from our citizens in the form of taxes are spent to benefit our citizens,” Wilson said.

According to the report, SPAC has allocated SEAT various amounts between $6,175 and $22,700 for each Sex Week. Similarly, Boyd said during his response that SPAC will no longer continue to allocate funds at UTK.

“To our students: We are not censoring you,” Boyd said. “I am concerned that the action of one-tenth of one percent of our students has distracted from the amazing contribution that our university provides each and every day.”

 

Edited by Ciera Noe and Kaitlin Flippo

Featured image courtesy of Tennessee General Assembly Senate Education Committee video