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UNF Sex Week events cancelled by officials

Marielisa Martinez

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The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Resource had to remove the panels “Polyamory vs. Cheating” and “Coming out Kinky” from the Sex Week program, happening  from March 6 to March 10.

Campus Reform published an article saying the polyamory panel was designed for “students searching for ‘ethical non-monogamy as an alternative to cheating’,” instead of a sexual education event for the whole community.

The UNF Sex Week event page was removed by UNF officials. Once a new event page is approved, it will be reactivated.

Both events were planned by the Relationship Equality Foundation (REF) organization. The university cancelled two of three events brought together by the REF. The event that hasn’t been cancelled is “Navigating New Relationship Energy.”

A condom cake for Sex Week. Photo by Angel Kalafatis

A condom cake for Sex Week. Photo by Angel Kalafatis

Billy Holder, Vice President of the REF organization, said UNF officials never contacted them for a more detailed explanation of the panel’s content.

“We did not have the opportunity to discuss the classes with the university organization,” Holder said.

“18-24 [year olds] are now accepting non-monogamy relationships more than before,” continued Holder. “They need the education so they can effectively navigate the relationship with the less of harm.”

As a result of the Campus Reform article, UNF’s officials, lead by Vice President Thomas Serwatka, decided to cancel the “Polyamory vs. Cheating” and the “Coming out Kinky” panel as well, in order to preserve the school’s image and eliminate distraction from the event’s original mission.

Spinnaker contacted vice president Serwatka for comments and they will be posted as soon as possible.

According to Kaitlin M. Legg, director at the LGBT Resource Center, students have gone to the center asking for guidance regarding topics such as polyamory and BDSM practices, all of them orbiting in the consent spectrum.

“We’re known as the sexuality center as well, so a lot of students come asking these questions,” said Legg.

UNF Sex Week 2017’s mission states that the event seeks to present a “series of events that feature a sex-positive message designed to educate the campus community on a wide variety of topics including but not limited to: health and wellness, relationships and intimacy, identity and orientation, safety and risk awareness, and consent.”

According to Angel Kalafatis, mentor program coordinator at the LGBT Resource Center and UNF grad student, neither of the panels interfered with the event’s mission.

“There is a lot of stigma surrounding some sexual behaviors,” said Kalafatis. “We want to destigmatize these practices and provide safety information about it.”

Campus Reform also mentioned “A Grownup Toy Story,” a workshop that will explore the mechanics of sexual exploration with yourself and your partner. The workshop would also discuss the use of sex toys and their role in sexuality. UNF’s Pride Club organized the workshop and since it is a student organization, the university cannot limit their freedom.

“Polyamory in Practice” was going to discuss the implications of this non-monogamous behavior from the inside. The talk would have presented four polyamorous individuals who would have shared their experience practicing this lifestyle. The talk would have taken place on March 8, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., inside of building 58 E, in the student union.

“Coming out Kinky” wanted to explore what it really means to be kinky, through different healthy sex principles like RACK which stands for Risk, Aware and Consensual Kink. It would also have briefly touched on BDSM culture and consent. The panel would have taken place on March 9, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 pm, inside Building 58 E, room 1111, in the student union.

The Center held a public lunch for students today at noon, with free food, in its office in the student union building. There, Sex Week’s organizers told students that they are still welcome to openly talk about any topics without fear in the center.

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For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

8 Comments

8 Responses to “UNF Sex Week events cancelled by officials”

  1. ad2017 on February 9th, 2017 12:43 pm

    What is wrong with this school?

    Is there anyone who went to the WJCT http://www.wjct.org/events/communitythread/ event last night?

    Our communities are divided over rights for gay and transgender residents. On February 14, the full Jacksonville City Council is expected to take up a controversial bill that would ban discrimination based on sexual preference and gender identity. That means no one could deny someone a job or a home or public service based solely on the fact they’re gay or transgender, with the exception of religious institutions and very small businesses. This is the third time the question has been brought before the Council, and every time, supporters and opponents have raised their voices loudly.
    Join us for a live, interactive, televised discussion on February 8. And if you can’t attend, send your questions and comments about expanding Jacksonville’s human rights ordinance to [email protected].

    Panelists:
    Father Tim Cusick, Diocese of St. Augustine, Catholic Church of North Florida
    Hugh Greene, CEO Baptist Health
    Pastor R.L. Gundy, Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church
    Harry Lewis, Jr., COO, H.R. Lewis Petroleum Company
    Dan Merkan, Jacksonville Coalition for Equality
    Joey Vaughn, Jacksonville Attorney

    Airs LIVE! February 8 at 8pm on WJCT-TV and 89.9 WJCT-FM.

    I hope they stifle this broadcast because it was a massacre. It makes UNF and Jacksonville look like pushing this stuff is erroneous.

    Do not let the council members watch this because they will vote against the HRO bill next week.

    By the way Pastor Gundy said last night after the broadcast that he absolutely believes the Homosexuality is a SIN! And that he is adamantly against same sex marriage. That he will preach that in his church even if Canadian type laws show up.

    Dan Merkan in the meeting said that this IS A BATHROOM BILL!…and anyone who identifies as either sex can enter any bathroom, locker room, shower room, sauna, DORM ROOM THAT THEY WANT!

    And these are the “guys” on whose side?

    [Reply]

  2. ad2017 on February 9th, 2017 4:07 pm

    http://www.wjct.tv/video/2365952715/

    This is going to be bad. They released it.

    Please call Pastor R.L. Gundy to stop calling himself a spokesperson for us!

    You might want to see this. Someone is going to bring this up!!

    [Reply]

  3. Azure Trio on February 9th, 2017 9:43 pm

    ATTENTION: if you want these events to continue, please write a letter how it’s important to you as a student/alumni/staff/community member (however you’re involved) to have these events. We’re compiling them all to send to the necessary people. Please message them to me if want sex week.

    [Reply]

  4. ad2017 on February 10th, 2017 4:19 pm

    http://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com/2017/02/pushback-grows-after-florida-university.html

    Pressure on the university administration, however, appears to have come from another direction: jittery business and community leaders in Jacksonville who don’t want anything controversial to affect passage of a local Human Rights Ordinance (HRO) for LGBT protection. The Jacksonville City Council will vote on the ordinance on February 14th.

    Guess it shows what is really going on with the LGBT freedoms.

    [Reply]

  5. Alan M on February 12th, 2017 1:50 pm

    New developments:

    Polyamory in the News: “After outcry, Florida university restores banned poly and kink talks”:

    http://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com/2017/02/after-outcry-florida-university.html

    [Reply]

    ad2017 Reply:

    https://www.unf.edu/404.aspx?aspxerrorpath=/lgbtrc/UNFSexWeek.aspx

    link still not working.

    According to UNF VP and Chief of Staff Tom Serwatka, the decision to cancel the classes stem from pressures from THE SUPPORTERS and LOBBYIST in favor of the HRO in Jacksonville FL who don’t want anything controversial to affect passage of a local Human Rights Ordinance (HRO) for supposed LGBT “protections.”

    The Jacksonville City Council will vote on the ordinance on Feb 14th. Most noteworthy is that the LGBT Resource Center RUNS the Sex Week program according to Billy Holder of Relationship Equality Foundation.

    So why hide it until after the vote?…Is this the real reason for the so called protection? It seems to be very important for them to hide this.

    [Reply]

    ad2017 Reply:

    University of North Florida Students and Administration Reach Sex Week Compromise

    The students and administration at The University of North Florida have reached a compromise to allow all three previously canceled classes to be held on campus during Sex Week.

    Two of these classes were being offered by Relationship Equality Foundation and one by the UNF Pride Club.

    *****The students are being told that they can put back up advertisements for the event on Wednesday, February 15.***(AFTER THE HRO MEETING ON FEB 14TH***)

    Students have been told that Pride Club can host the classes and that the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Resource Center can continue to assist Pride Club in the promotion of these events. Relationship Equality Foundation is currently working with Pride Club to bring these classes to students during Sex Week.

    For more information, please see the LGBT Center’s official statement at https://www.unf.edu/lgbtrc/sxwk.aspx.

    [Reply]

  6. ad2017 on February 15th, 2017 2:48 pm

    According to UNF VP and Chief of Staff Tom Serwatka, the decision to cancel the UNF classes stem from pressures from THE SUPPORTERS and LOBBYIST in favor of the HRO in Jacksonville FL who don’t want anything controversial to affect passage of a local Human Rights Ordinance (HRO) for supposed LGBT “protections.”
    The Jacksonville City Council will vote on the ordinance on Feb 14th.
    ****************************************************************************

    Two of these classes were being offered by Relationship Equality Foundation and one by the UNF Pride Club.
    *****The students are being told that they can put back up advertisements for the event on Wednesday, February 15.***(AFTER THE HRO MEETING ON FEB 14TH***)
    *********************************************************************************
    Moments after the vote was announced, supporters celebrated in front of City Hall.
    Tom Serwatka joined the celebration – it was he and his husband’s anniversary.
    “We have been working for this over the last five years and this is amazing,” he said.

    [Reply]

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