By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The University of Tennessee may be pulling more funding for Sex Week.
UT Sex Week is a student-organized event covering a number of topics about sex, gender and sexuality.
The event has been embroiled in controversy for weeks, with supporters saying it's vital to educating students on issues related to sexual health, while others say it's an inappropriate use of school funds.
Chancellor Jimmy Cheek made the decision to pull more than $11,000 in state funding from the event last week in light of the controversy. The event was still slated to receive $6,700 in student programming money.
After pulling the state funding, the school also decided to give an additional $4,000 in student programming money to make up for the loss of state funds.
In response to the loss of funding, the group received an outpouring of donations from the community, including almost $900 in collections from a local church's Sunday service.
But Dr. Lynn Sacco, the faculty advisor for Sexual Empowerment and Awareness at Tennessee (SEAT), the group sponsoring Sex Week, said that on Wednesday a staff member in Student Activities told student organizers of Sex Week that the event wouldn't be receiving the extra $4,000 after all.
The students said they met with the Student Activities worker to negotiate and were allowed to keep $1,300 of that $4,000.
A UT spokesperson said she was unable to confirm or deny that meeting.
"We've had a lot of times where we've been promised money now and it was taken away and we're given a new amount," Sex Week organizer Joseph Beard said.
The Sex Week organizer said the $6,700 originally promised was not affected.
Dr. Sacco told 6 News the school informed students on the same day that a story ran in a local newspaper about the donations the group had received from the community. She believes this is the reason the school pulled the $4,000 in funding.
"It seems it's a way for the university to back down without actually closing Sex Week," Sacco said. "I'm sorry that political pressure is being used to really squelch the most serious student initiative I have ever seen in nine years at UT."
Sacco said private donations are not meant to affect the funding a group receives from student programming funds or the school.
She said the school told student organizers that it had received complaints from other students about the use of student programming money.
On Thursday, UT said the determination of student programming funds is up to the Central Program Council, which is run by students.
"The administration does not direct allocation of these fees," a UT spokesperson said. "Ultimately, a student board will review the need and determine how much funding should be allocated for this event."
UT said the decision has not been finalized yet.
"I'm sorry that political pressure is being used to really squelch the most serious student initiative I have ever seen in nine years at UT."