On Monday, the Student Activities Commission heard proposals from the students planning Sex Positive Week, a weeklong series of events designed to encourage discussion about sex and sexuality at Georgetown University, and ultimately approved funding for all the proposed events, although they put some conditions in place after their funding of Sex Positive Week caused a stir last year.
Looking at the public minutes of the SAC allocation meeting, Sex Positive Week, which will take place from February 22 to February 26, is going consist of events like “Virginity and Losing It,” “Disability and Sexuality,” “God and the Erotic,” and a “Sex Positive Carnival.”
SAC voted to stipulate that some of the events and material—like the Zine, which will print Sex Positive stories and images—will need further approval from SAC before they are ultimately funded.
Funding for “Virginity and Losing It,” which the organizers described as “a discussion about virginity and the climate surrounding that issue on campus,” was approved at $75; “Disability and Sexuality” was approved for $85; “God and the Erotic” was approved, but the organizers did not request any funds for that event. All of these events were approved unanimously.
Open Mic Night, for which the organizers did not ask for funding, was approved 8 to 1 (objecting) to 2 (abstaining).
From the looks of the minutes, the next item, a proposal for a Sex Positive Carnival, “a fun, creative way to get out information on things people don’t usually think about or care to learn about,” generated a lot of discussion among the student commissioners.
Read more, including the minutes of the SAC meeting, after the jump.
Commissioners wanted to know what the subject matter of booths at the fair would be, how the booths would be decorated, what exactly the “performance art” the organizers had discussed was, and for the organizers to “elaborate on the ‘how-to’ booths.”
“We’re planning on having about alternative body images, safe sex, BDSM, female orgasms,” the organizers are recorded as saying. “It’ll probably be more like speeches and short sketches rather than full on performances … There will be some images that may be considered ‘out-there,’ but nothing obscene.”
“I don’t like the fact that they can’t tell us what the booths are going to be,” Harrison Holcomb (NHS ’11) is recorded as saying in the discussion among commissioners that followed.
Junior Senyo Abotsi, the SAC commissioner handling Sex Positive Week, is recorded reassuring SAC that the organizers “are a very responsible group that is always responsive to our communications”
“I hear what you’re saying about the appropriateness concern, but I wouldn’t want to disillusion you into thinking that this approval would let them do absolutely anything that they want. They do have to run their ideas by us,” he said. “Further, it’s important to keep in mind that the Access to Benefits policy exists specifically for this purpose: that not everything is in keeping with the Catholic identity, and they are empowered to voice their ideas.”
Ultimately, SAC voted 8-0-3 to give the organizers $500 for the event “with the stipulation that anything Senyo finds inappropriate is brought before the commission for further review.”
SAC commissioners had similar concerns when the organizers requested $168 for the Zine.
“I think it’s important to always keep in mind the issue of obscenity and how it’s perceived on a catholic campus,” Holcomb said.
Commissioners voted 9-0-2 to fund the Zine on the conditions that “that the Zine be approved before publication.”
The minutes still aren’t available online, but freshman Ruiyong Chen, SAC’s new public relations director, made them available to Vox upon request. (Chen said that the delay was due to the University being closed.)
Abotsi declined to comment on any of the funding decisions. Olivia Chitayat (COL ’10), Sex Positive Week’s de facto chief organizer, did not respond to Vox‘s request for comment on the minutes.
Last year, Georgetown and the student organizers of Sex Positive Week caught a lot of heat for funding events that brought speakers Jenny Block and self-proclaimed “anal sexpert” Tristan Taormino to talk about open relationships and a speaker from a local bondage, discipline, and sadomasochism group.
At least for now, that seems less likely to happen this year. David Gregory (COL ’10), the editor-in-chief of conservative, Catholic student publication The Georgetown Academy, who was one of the biggest critics of Sex Positive Week last year, has been involved in the planning process of Sex Positive Week and it doesn’t look like there are any speakers with racy resumes coming to Georgetown this year.