Yale Administrators Ban Yale Sex Week

Last week, Yale’s president announced that the student-run “Sex Week” will not be permitted to use Yale’s name or facilities, basically banning it from campus. The week-long event started as in 2002 as an informative “interdisciplinary sex educational program.” However, Yale’s administrators and conservative groups on campus feel that in recent years, too many of the week’s events were hosted by porn stars or people involved in the porn industry. Even though many of the talks provided by people from the porn industry were not about pornography, people are in a tizzy about it.

In the president’s letter he stated, “We have no intention of suppressing the students’ right to free expression. But we will not allow the University’s facilities or name to be used in the service of corporate sponsors and the private inurement of student organizers.” Well, they kind of are suppressing the students’ right to free expression, but the mention of corporate sponsors seems to be the real concern. It appears that the majority of the events from Yale Sex Week were actually educational, but the administration doesn’t want this week to be backed in any way by members from the porn industry.

Harvard University’s organization, Sexual Health Education & Advocacy throughout Harvard College (SHEATH), has planned their own Sex Week to discuss sex and sexuality. SHEATH has removed association with Harvard from the name of their event in response to the ban of Yale Sex Week. This Sex Week features seminars and workshops about various topics on sex and sexuality, without the involvement of the porn industry.

I honestly feel that Yale Sex Week is something that could benefit their campus, especially in light of last year’s fraternity scandal where Delta Kappa Epsilon pledges marched around and chanted misogynistic slurs. Granted, I understand why the administration doesn’t want events to be sponsored by the porn industry. But just because someone is in the porn industry doesn’t mean they don’t have important things to say about sex. A Sex Week should be all inclusive, which seems to be why Yale’s Sex Week had the porn industry involved in the first place. It’s a forum to speak openly about sex and take away the stigma. If anyone can speak openly about sex, it’s people in the porn industry.

Banning Yale Sex Week seems to be an extreme solution to a sort of non-existent problem. If the porn industry situation is the real problem, why not tell the organizers that they can’t have people from the porn industry sponsor discussions? Why ban the entire week altogether? It’s important for college students to be informed about sex, in all aspects, whether it’s about health, sexuality, sexual harassment, or hooking up. Sex is a part of culture, so why are people so afraid to talk about it? By banning Yale Sex Week, the administration is perpetuating the taboo that we’ve been trying to get rid of.

What do you think? Is Yale’s administration right to ban Yale Sex Week?

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  1. Dana says:

    I hate when colleges pretend that sex doesn't exist on their campus. It's a lot smarter to talk about it in a safe and productive way than to act like college is all about academics.

  2. Matt says:

    At Oberlin, we have Safer Sex week. The administration is trying to kill it too, but it indubitably raises awareness of not only safe sex practices, but consent issues, LGBT sexuality, and safe sexual exploration. I would hate to see it go, and I hope the kids at Yale can sort this out!

    (That being said, I don't think any of ours were hosted by porn stars….)

  3. Abby says:

    After the several reports of unacceptable sexual misconduct at Yale (the aforementioned frat boys, among other things) Yale asked a special committee to issue a report on how the Yale community can better deal with sexual harassment, violence or misconduct. The committee reported that Sex Week had become part of the problem more than part of the solution. While Sex Weeks can be a great thing when they are presenting informed, healthy dialogue about sex, the committee felt Yale's Sex Week was not promoting a healthy sexual environment on Yale's campus.

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