Sex Week will occur this year for the second time at ETSU — with a couple changes.
Two years ago, the event sparked controversy among SGA senators because the University of Tennessee at Knoxville receiving backlash from the state legislature for wanting to host a similar week-long event. Sex Week at ETSU was still held that year, but with little support from the ETSU student government.
This year, however, SGA granted the event full funding– $4,800.
“I think the success of the first event in 2015 gave us a lot more room to work on campus,” said Melissa McElroy, the treasurer of the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, one of the organizations behind the event. “I think the first week was a really positive experience for a lot of students, and [SGA] remembered that when it came up again [last semester].”
In 2015, the event was known as Sex Week, but this year it has received a new title: Sexual Health Week.
“We discussed it with the other execs and decided it was a better representation of what we wanted it to be,” McElroy said. “The UTK Sex week has been very controversial, and we wanted to avoid any controversy so we could have a smooth event.”
McElroy said the purpose of Sexual Health Week is to “fill the gap” that local public school sexual education provides and to help students improve their sexual health.
“I think we’re in a really underserved area in terms of sex education,” she said. “Most people I know had either no sex ed in high school or it was abstinence only.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated 1.5 million cases of chlamydia, 400,000 cases of gonorrhea and 24,000 cases of primary and secondary syphilis were diagnosed in 2015. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the most predominate STDs at ETSU, according to Student Health Services.
Sexual Health Week will not only cover the obvious sexual education issues of contraception and sexually transmitted diseases, but will also include dialogue on gender identity, sexuality, consent, sex’s role in religion and gynecological health.
The first Sexual Health Week event, an LGBTQ Crash Course, kicks off Feb. 6 at 12:30 p.m. in the Multicultural Center. A full schedule is available online at Facebook.com/sexweekatETSU.