REPORT: UT spent over 100k in student fees on ‘Sex Week’ since 2013
- The University of Tennessee has spent an average of $15,000 per year since 2013 on "Sex Week," according to a Tennessee Comptroller Office released a report.
- But the school indicated that it would be willing to make some changes suggested by the Comptroller's Office.
A new report by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office reveals the University of Tennessee spent over $105,000 in student fees to fund “Sex Week.”
The report alleges that the Sexual Empowerment and Awareness at Tennessee (SEAT) organization, which puts on “Sex Week,” has received an average of $15,000 per year since 2013 from student activities fees to put on the event. In 2016-2017, the report states that the group received $22,700 for “Sex Week.” At UT, students have the option to opt out of funding events put on by registered student organizations.
SEAT, according to the report, is one of the top five Registered Student Organizations at UT-Knoxville in terms of funding from student activity fees. However, in 2017-2018, the report states that “Sex Week” only had 694 attendees, which is less than three percent of UT’s total enrollment.
The comptroller’s office offers suggestions ranging from the Tennessee General Assembly banning “Sex Week” to the General Assembly “ignoring” the event, which would give it less, even proposing that UT be more transparent with parents and students about “controversial events.”
UT revealed in a statement that it is considering the following comptroller suggestions:
Be more transparent about funding for student organizations and how much money they are allotted
Create a more “proactive” plan to communicate controversial events to students, parents, and citizens of Tennessee
Taking action to “reduce the perception of bias in the student activity fee funding allocation process”
In addition, UT states that it will study the option of charging registered student organizations to use facilities on campus.
In a letter to the comptroller’s office, Randy Boyd, the interim president of UT stated that the school would make the changes necessary to “cease future allocations of funds directly to registered student organizations.”
“While we want to support students, we also recognize that ‘Sex Week’ has caused frustration and embarrassment for legislators, alumni, many Tennessee citizens, and for us as administrators at UT, and we and the Board are committed to rectifying this,” the interim president and chancellor of UT stated. “This student-led program on the UT Knoxville campus has generated such attention due to the explicit nature of some of its events."
“Over the past six years, various UT administrators and trustees have taken actions to address issues related to the event,” Boyd noted. “However, we recognize that their approach, while focused on handling the issues, did not fix the problem and that too many events have been more about sensationalism than education.”
UT’s “Sex Week” has found itself at the center of controversy over the past few years. In 2016, SEAT held “BDSM” and “Butt Stuff” workshops during “Sex Week” and even invited a porn star to come to speak.
Jack Huddleston, the vice president of College Republicans at UT told Campus Reform that he does not believe it is appropriate for student funds to be used for “Sex Week.”
“I do not think that it is appropriate to spend student fees on a program that is not helpful, educational, or reflective of our Tennessee values,” Huddleston stated. “It is more about sensationalism and raunchiness than it is about education and I do not believe that it does anything to prevent or raise awareness for sexual assault on college campuses.”
Further, Huddleston stated that SEAT had a chance to take the lead on campus sexual assault awareness. However, he added that it missed the mark.
“I think there was, at one point, a great opportunity for SEAT to take a leading role in campus sexual assault awareness,” Huddleston said. ”I think that opportunity was badly missed and that the organization now is about nothing more than promoting sexual perversion and sticking it to both administration and state leaders. “
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