(WBIR) State Sen. Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) said Tuesday he's decided to drop legislative fight over UT Sex Week.
The student-run event has sparked controversy in local and national headlines since coming to the University of Tennessee last year. In 2013, the event bothered enough state leaders and university officials that UT pulled thousands of dollars in funding from the event. Earlier this month, Sex Week returned to campus but not without contention.
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Campfield, along with other lawmakers, were among a group against using student activity fees to help fund the week-long program about sex. A bill, sponsored by Campfield, would have placed new restrictions on student fees that fund visiting or guest speakers for events at public universities or colleges in Tennessee.
But Campfield said he decided to drop the legislation because of steps university officials have promised to take voluntarily. UT President Dr. Joe DiPietro wrote a letter to Campfield's office stating that payers of student activity fees will have the option to "opt in" to programming that could be "controversial or objectionable," according to Campfield.
Dr. DiPietro's letter comes after the Senate passed a resolution condemning UT Sex Week earlier this week. The chamber voted 23-6 in favor of the measure sponsored by Sen. Mike Bell of (R- Riceville).
The resolution strongly urged UT to make a list of student-organized programming paid with activity fees. The measure also said the university should publish a statement saying some events are controversial and require payers to check a box if they want to fund this portion of the programming. This is a similar approach used by lawmakers in New York and Wisconsin, according to The Tennessean.
Even though Campfield said he doesn't believe this change will bring an end to UT Sex Week, it could limit which speakers are invited to campus.