Student government votes down funding for 'sex week'

East Tennessee State University's student government declined to fund the school's sex week over concerns that the university could end up in a battle with the state legislature.

East Tennessee State University’s (ETSU) Student Senate has voted unanimously to not allocate funds toward the school’s “Sex Week” for fear that the three-day event would upset state legislators.

The decision comes after the University of Tennessee (UT) announced it would no longer use state funds to host sex week events, following harsh criticisms from several Tennessee state legislators who threatened to the school’s funding, as reported by Campus Reform in March of last year. UT eventually reached a compromise with the legislature that allows students to opt out of funding student programs that they find controversial or objectionable.

ETSU’s Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance (FMLA), requested $9,340 from student representatives to host the event, but were turned down in a 23-1-4 vote, because of concerns that the “power of campus governing bodies could be stripped away by legislators if the event were sanctioned by ETSU,” according to the Johnson City Press.

“If we fund this, the whole Buc Fund process has a very high chance of being destroyed,” said Brandon Johnson, a member of the student Senate. “If this is a power-play, we will lose. As much as I’m all for fighting the system, you have to know when to hold them and know when to fold them...”

Max Carwile, the lead coordinator of “Sex Week,” was unhappy with the Senate’s decision.

“It's really appalling to me, because it feels like our government, that we elected to represent us, is choosing politics over the health and education of the students they are supposed to represent,” she told WJHL.

Despite issues with funding, the feminist group has decided to run an independent fundraiser for the event, called Crowdrise, in hopes of raising $10,000 before “Sex Week” is set to take place on Feb. 10.

“Whatever we can do to make sure that this event goes matter what, this event is going to happen, it is too important for it not to happen,” said Carwile.

Student Senate leaders say they pressured FMLA to change the name “Sex Week,” suggesting it was inflammatory and would receive negative publicity, but group leaders never consented to doing so.

Although rumors surrounding the “Sex Week” suggest it will include a “sex position workshop,” Kathryn Travis, secretary of FMLA, denied knowing anything about the workshop, but confirmed the content would be sexual in nature.

“Our interest is presenting it in a healthy, mature atmosphere, where everyone can be as comfortable as possible,” said Travis.

An update by Johnson City Press reports that “[a]s of 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, the crowdrise fundraiser tallied $670 in pledges, 7 percent of the total goal.”

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