CHOICES joins the MidSouth AIDS Fund (MAF), Healthy & Free Tennessee, the Red Door Foundation, SisterReach, and Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region in urging the University of Tennessee, Knoxville administration to reinstate funds for sexual health and justice initiatives. On March 20th, UTK Chancellor Jimmy Cheek and President Joe DiPietro announced that $11,145 of previously committed state funds will be withdrawn from the student-run organization, Sexual Empowerment and Awareness at Tennessee (SEAT).
This announcement came after UTK officials succumbed to pressure from Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville and Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville to defund SEAT programming or face an inquiry by the Senate Education Committee. SEAT is hosting the first annual Sex Week at UTK from April 7-12, with events designed to address comprehensive issues surrounding gender, sex, and sexuality. This week-long event will foster ongoing, open, and productive dialogue and will add to the value of student life and the co-curricular education at UTK. The week-long event will be composed of a variety of activities focusing on education, including basic tabling, free HIV testing, a sexual assault prevention workshop, seminars, keynote speakers, and a film series.
Our organizations believe is imprudent to discourage education-based programs that are designed to encourage responsible decisions regarding sexual and reproductive health, and promote constructive dialogue about issues of gender, sex, and sexuality. This imprudence by university officials is especially troubling when it affects a state that has some of the most appalling STD and teen pregnancy rates in the country; a state where LGBT students report levels of verbal abuse higher than the national average.
To support UT Sex Week directly go to: http://sexweekut.org/