UNM Apologizes After Conservative Backlash Over Sex Week

The University of New Mexico apologized Wednesday for some of its campus "Sex Week" events after outcry from conservative students that allowing free discussion about sex on campus was inappropriate.

Eliseo "Cheo" Torres, vice president for student affairs at UNM, issued a statement saying the organizers for Sex Week were well-intentioned, but went over the line.

"The initiative did not have clear oversight or close enough supervision to prevent the inclusion of topics that are sensational and controversial," Torres said. "For that UNM apologizes."

UNM's Sex Week took place Sept. 29 through Oct. 2. Like other sex week events that are held at various public and private universities, the student-funded events discussed how to have healthy sexual relationships. Provocative titles for talks included "How to be a Gentleman AND Get Laid," "Negotiating Successful Threesomes" and "BJs and Beyond."

Conservative students, aided by conservative websites like The College Fix, and Breitbart, criticized the university for the events and their salacious titles.

UNM Students for Life was perhaps the most prominent critical group, writing a letter in the student newspaper titled "University is no place to talk about sexual behavior."

UNM's response is in stark contrast to how the University of Tennessee defended the free speech rights of its students when conservative lawmakers attacked the Knoxville school for holding its own Sex Week. As a public university, UT officials argued, it had no right to censor students from talking about sex using their own funding to pay for the events.

When asked by The Huffington Post if his statement alluded to possible censorship of future Sex Week events at UNM, Torres responded via email that the university needs to "continually ensure that the events and topics actually meet their advertised objective."

"I chose to use the word 'supervision' as a way of explaining that we need to have well-defined, clear, oversight as to what are actual campus events," Torres said.

UNM Students for Life Vice President Sade Patterson said in a statement posted to Facebook that she would have rather seen the university host events focusing on negative aspects of sexuality, like "diseases, unplanned pregnancies, and sexual abuse."

"I am not naive to our culture, society, and generation's views on sex," Patterson said. "What I don't appreciate is that my tax dollars, as well as others' are going toward an event that DOES objectify women and sex, whether you think so or not."

Tax dollars did not fund the UNM Sex Week events. Instead, the funding came entirely from student fees -- money that comes from students, not taxpayers.

The events were hosted by UNM's Women's Resource Center and the Graduate and Professional Students Association.

"The topic areas can be controversial, but they are also promoting respect, safety and safer sex practices,” Summer Little, director of the Women's Resource Center, told the Albuquerque Journal. “Whether they use it tonight or five years from now after they get married, the information is still useful. It’s another angle, a positive way, for us to come at the problem of sexual violence on campus.”