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UT President Joe DiPietro, Stacey Campfield spar over 'Sex Week'

May 17th, 2013 8:04 am by Tom Humphrey, Knoxville News-Sentinel

UT President Joe DiPietro, Stacey Campfield spar over 'Sex Week'

University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro speaks at a Senate subcommittee hearing in Nashville, Tenn., on Thursday, May 16, 2013, about fees being used to pay for speakers at a student-initiated Sex Week program. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)

NASHVILLE — University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro defended the Knoxville campus’s spring “Sex Week” program under critical questioning Thursday from state Sen. Stacey Campfield in a legislative hearing.

“In my professional opinion, it is very, very important on a university campus to have some sex education going on,” DiPietro told the Knoxville Republican at one point, adding that if a single unwanted pregnancy or sexual assault was prevented as a result, that would justify the program.

“I have to go back to the First Amendment,” he said. “I have a professional obligation to preserve the First Amendment. I’m sorry.”

Campfield replied that he, too, supports freedom of speech under the First Amendment, but the issue is “forcing students to pay for speech they find objectionable.” He cited as an example a “transgender cross-dressing show” during the April week of events.

“If someone wants to dress up like a duck, God bless them. But I shouldn’t have to pay for it,” said Campfield.


Read more at the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

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