Floyd resolution condemning UT 'Sex Week' sails through House panel

Floyd resolution condemning UT 'Sex Week' sails through House panel

February 18th, 2014 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

NASHVILLE - A House panel today approved a resolution condemning "Sex Week" activities at the University of Tennessee's Knoxville campus following a wording change.

The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga, still attacks the event as an "outrageous misuse of student fees and grant monies."

Floyd, however, removed the word "administration" of the University of Tennessee and substituted the word "organizers" through an amendment approved by Education Committee members.

With no debate, committee members quickly approved the measure on a voice vote.

The resolution grew out of last year's controversy over "Sex Week" activities at UT-Knoxville. The annual event, sponsored by Sexual Empowerment and Awareness at Tennessee, features a series of activities and lectures highlighting sex education and areas like safe sex.

But last year's event, which also featured a lesbian bondage expert, drag show and a campus-wide hunt for a "golden condom," triggered an avalanche of criticism from social conservatives in the Republican-dominated Tennessee Legislature. That led to legislative hearings scrutinizing various campus groups' funding of events and speakers, accusing public higher education of a left-wing bias.

With lawmakers on the warpath, UT-Knoxville quickly dropped any state tax funding for the group's organizers. But students fees and grants remain available. University of Tennessee officials say free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment make it difficult to deny funding.

Several lawmakers have bills that would change state law to require student fees be distributed proportionally to university organizations based on membership. The bills would also prohibit the use of institutional revenue to pay for any guest speakers.

Floyd's resolution expresses the displeasure of lawmakers.