Despite 2,974 likes on Facebook, it appears not everyone approves of Sex Week.
After Tennessee state legislators successfully pressured administrators to pull all state funding from Sex Week in 2013, some of those same legislators are "outraged" once again, according to House Joint Resolution 661.
Sponsored by Rep. Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga, and passed unanimously by voice vote in the House Education Committee, the bill initially condemned the UT administration "for permitting 'Sex Week' to be held" on campus for the second consecutive year. Tuesday, the House Education Committee approved an amendment to change the wording – no longer condemning "administration," the bill now condemns Sex Week's "organizers."
And those would be Jacob Clark and Brianna Rader, both seniors in College Scholars. The pair co-founded Sexual Empowerment and Awareness at Tennessee, better known as SEAT, in fall 2012 and organized Sex Week 2013, despite the last-minute withdrawal of financial support from the university. Their organization has grown to include 16 executive board members for Sex Week 2014, and the proposed legislation is unclear as to who, exactly, will face condemnation should it pass.
"It's more disappointing than anything else," Clark said Wednesday. "Their response, in my opinion, is a petty response."
Upon hearing they faced condemnation, Clark and Rader contacted top UT officials, including Chancellor Cheek and Vice Chancellor for Student Life Vincent Carilli, asking that UT release a statement to counter the state's proposed condemnation of students.
"There will be effects," Clark and Rader wrote in an email sent late Tuesday night. "For instance, we can probably never work for the Tennessee state government now – not that we were planning to, but it's still an example of the types of considerations that need to be made.
"We do not take this Resolution lightly, and we hope UT administration won't either."
Provost Susan Martin responded to Clark and Rader Wednesday morning, indicating support. And in the video stream of the Senate Education Committee's meeting Wednesday afternoon, Chancellor Cheek can be seen, suggesting the administration traveled to Nashville to discuss the bill.
SGA President Jake Baker said the student government is also looking into the issue.
"We are planning on setting up a meeting with SEAT executives to explore the issue," he said Wednesday.
The Campfield saga continues
The legislative response to Sex Week extends beyond HJR 661; state Sen. Stacey Campfield has also proposed two bills that would fundamentally change the way student fees are allocated for funding.
To discuss those proposals, the UT College Democrats and Republicans planned to co-host Campfield for a question and answer session Friday evening.
Wednesday, two days before the event, Campfield backed out of the commitment after changing the terms of his agreement.
In a Facebook conversation with Zach Dean, one of Campfield's staffers, College Democrats President Joshua Stovall originally proposed to offer Campfield the chance to look over all the potential questions an impartial moderator might ask him. Despite initially agreeing, Dean shifted gears Wednesday, indicating that Campfield would not answer half of the proposed questions, including one on how he defined membership and another on how the constituency might encourage him to change his bills.
Dean also indicated Campfield would only field pre-approved student questions if his potential competition for the District 7 Senate seat, Democrat Cheri Siler, would be present.
"It changed the original intent of this event," Stovall said. "His electorate were calling on him ... and he backed out."