This week is Sex Week, five days filled with events and lectures that promote sexual health and awareness on campus — or, as Todd Starnes refers to it, “five days of depravity that makes Mardi Gras on Bourbon Street look like a Sunday school picnic.”

If you're unfamiliar with the oh-so-charming Todd Starnes, he is the Fox News host notorious for inaccurately reporting on the university's small moves to create a more accepting and inclusive campus.

And Starnes is one of the reasons the university is at risk to lose it's diversity funding.

But, this editorial is not meant to condemn Starnes or the Tennessee legislature — again. It's meant to salute and support the students of Sexual Empowerment and Awareness at Tennessee, the students who continue to host Sex Week, year after year, in the face of continued backlash.

This year, Sex Week will host events that tackle everything from the fun in the bedroom, like BDSM 101 and Butt Stuff, to the educational, like Trans Health and Male Sexual Fluidity.

And these classes are something that State Rep. Kevin Brooks called, “horrifically disturbing,” according to Starnes.

“The fact that we are using state dollars and state classrooms on state campuses to promote UT Sex Week is unforgivable (sic),” said Brooks according to Starnes.

Do you know what's truly horrifically disturbing? That April is Sexual Assault Awareness month, and our state legislature is trying to end one of the few resources this campus has to prevent and educate on sex positivity, body awareness and sexual assault prevention. It is horrifically disturbing that our university is under federal investigation and has a Title IX lawsuit filed against it for its mishandling of sexual assault cases, as is the case on many other college campuses nationwide.

If anything, tax payer money should be spent on positive, informative safe sex education. We shouldn't be starting college without knowledge about contraceptives, our own sexuality, consent, proper bodily health and how to look at sex from an empowered stance — and it is horrifically disturbing that our state cares more about being offended by the word “sex” than whether or not students start college with the information to make safe, informed and empowered decisions about their own bodies.

The students who continue to organize and attend Sex Week send an important message to the university and the state — that when something is missing from our education, and when something has the potential to better the lives of students at our university, that those things should be fought for.

Those things are worth sticking up for. 

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