Georgetown SAC approves University funding for Sex Positive Week events

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.

SAC meeting minutes from the Sex Positive presentation

11 Comments on “Georgetown SAC approves University funding for Sex Positive Week events

  1.  by  Matt

    “Open Mic Night, for which the organizers did not ask for funding, was approved 8 to 1 (objecting) to 2 (abstaining).”

    It’s nice to know that one person objected to an event which didn’t require funding at all. Who it was or why, of course, is lost to history, because voting is still anonymous.

  2.  by  Jacob

    It’s nice to know that my activities fee is paying for this smut.

  3.  by  Max G.

    Why is the event called “Virginity and Losing It” and not “Virginity and Keeping It”? Where is the other side of the argument, of the sanctity of sex, within the context of a committed relationship in marriage? Is that being represented? The posters last year were extremely offensive, how do we know that they won’t be this year?

  4.  by  @jacob and max

    Give me a break. Sex positive week is much needed at a school so hopelessly repressed and out of touch with reality that it can’t even offer condoms for sale on campus. For once, it’s nice to see the campus being honest with itself. Having a serious conversation about healthy attitudes toward sex is much preferable to pretending that it doesn’t exist on a college campus. It’s hard to believe that there’s someone out there like Jacob so averse to sexuality than any mention of it counts as smut, but then we come across someone like Max, who thinks that the priority of most college students ought to be hanging onto their virginity as long as possible. These two are so out-of-touch that they probably think that the new Latin mass counts among the highlights of Georgetown nightlife for most students.

  5.  by  @Max G.

    The event is actually, in part, about the discourse around “losing it” and how that can make people feel pressured into having sex when they’re not actually ready or interested. Also, Dave Gregory is on the planning committee for that event, so I’m pretty damn sure that the “sanctity of sex” argument will be represented.

  6.  by  @Max G.

    ecxuse me, “pretty darn sure.” Sorry for filling your eyes with that smut…

  7.  by  Mia Di Stefano

    If you actually care to attend the event on virginity, which David and I have been planning, it’s called Saving It and Losing It. Being Georgetown students though, I assume people would never dare to make rash assumptions about content based on a title and then make inflammatory comments. That would be, well, ignorant.

    Here’s our (provisionary) description:
    What’s so important about losing your virginity? Come talk about the intersection of sex positivity and virginity! Is virginity important to you? Consider why. Do you just happen to be a virgin? That’s okay too. This is a conversation for YOU, virgin or non-virgin, to give your input and help break down assumptions about what being a virgin means.

    AND if you have questions, or are interested, I made a survey so that we can get student feedback before having the discussion. Completely anonymous. Check it: https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dFhjMUpBaUZ0OWxKMklGdzRrSEZLWVE6MA

    And then please check your facts. :-)

  8.  by  Dave Gregory

    Well, @jacob and max, I would hardly consider the Latin Mass the highlight of student nightlife, but I am indeed an advocate for its return to campus and attended the first one held this past Thursday.

    That being said, it’s hardly about “hanging onto [our] virginity as long as possible”; that’s simply a blatant misrepresentation and misunderstanding of our position. We’re about understanding that the body is an integral part of the human person (duh), and that the greatest gift I can give to another person is my body.

    Now, this gift can take a variety of forms. Christ tells his disciples in John, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”; so self-sacrifice, the giving of my love, energy, time, devotion, physical self, etc. to another is the definition of any act of love. The greatest gift I can give to another in the context of a romantic relationship is my body in the act of sexual union. And yet, this giving is not merely a gift of the physical self, but the spiritual self as well. It is a gift of my love, my energy, my time, my devotion, etc. Now, if I understand sex to be a complete and ultimate gift of self, why would I want to have sex with anyone other than someone I have committed to in a loving way?

    Ultimately, the culture which demands that we feel free to lose our virginity to whomever and whenever devalues the self and the other; it fails to understand the value of the self and the value of the other, thereby objectifying the act of sex, removing the element of self-gift which leads to deep joy, a joy far more potent and powerful than the superficial pleasure which does nothing more than objectify both the self and the other in the act of sexual intercourse.

    I totally understand that this might come off as totally crazy, but I hope that this clears at least something up.

  9.  by  @jacob and max

    Dave:

    While I strongly disagree with your view of sexuality (and most of the assumptions that frame it), I think it’s fine to include it as part of an open discussion about what constitutes a healthy approach to sex, and a panel on virginity gives people the opportunity to do just that. To assume, as Jacob and Max did, that we should eschew all discussion of sex or that any discussion of sex must necessarily promote rampant promiscuity is asinine and worthy of mockery. I have little interest in getting into a lengthy debate on religion and sex in the comments section on a blog, but I’m sure you’ll find plenty of people willing to engage your ideas during sex positive week.

  10. Pingback: Georgetown U. funds “sex positive week” | CatInfor.com

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