The university announced the decision this evening, giving university president Joe DiPietro and chancellor Jimmy Cheek the opportunity to grovel before the Bible-thumpers.
"We support the process and the students involved but we should not use state funds in this manner," Cheek clucked disapprovingly.
"The university is accountable to the General Assembly, the governor and the people of Tennessee for the use of state tax dollars," DiPietro said. "The university's three-part mission is to provide education, research and public service, and the state allocates this funding to help us fulfill the mission. Some activities planned as part of Sex Week are not an appropriate use of state tax dollars."
Sex Week presumably will go on in some fashion. According to the university, organizers will keep $6,700 in student programming dollars, but $11,145 from academic programs and departments will no longer be available. We doubt this will satisfy Campfield and Fowler, who'd like to see the whole event canceled, so yet more university kowtowing might be required.
Update: MetroPulse asks, "Does the UTK Administration Suck? Or Does It Blow?"
We're not sure what will happen to Sex Week now, since these funds have been budgeted and allotted for months and months and months. It seems like the administration doesn't give a damn about the hard work students have put into organizing this conference. And never mind that the woman behind Sex Week, Brianna Rader, is actually a Haslam Scholar. (Not like our governor would ever step in on behalf of a politically unpopular issue. Please.)
What we do know, though, is that the UT administration will willingly kowtow to conservatives no matter what. No matter that Campfield is one of the least popular senators in the legislature and the Republican establishment wants him out. No matter that the planning for Sex Week has been going on for over a year with no issues raised. No matter that as of yesterday, UT had only heard from 30 to 40 people opposed, out of all the people in the great state of Tennessee, or even the city of Knoxville. No matter that $11,145 is a teeny drop in the bucket of UT's budget — a budget that can easily find room to pay out millions of dollars to football coaches who were fired. But god forbid students — WHO ARE ALREADY HAVING SEX ON CAMPUS EVERY GODDAMN DAY — find out about having safe, respectful, good sex. Oh no, that would be a shame.
What's a shame is the UT administration not sticking up for its students and for academic freedom. That's what's really a shame.
Update II: Sex Week organizers discuss the controversy. “At first we had to work so hard to get any type of press, and then in the past week things have taken off.”