Sex Toys and Censorship

Here’s a not so hypothetical hypo (yes, I’m studying for exams, so I am awash in hypos): an LSRJ chapter plans an event called “Sex Toys 101” in which they plan to bring in an educator from a local shop to teach students about sexual health and pleasure and to facilitate a discussion about state laws around the country concerning the legality of sex toys. Two hours before the event, the school’s assistant dean cancels it, citing some school regulation that bans the selling or promotion of commercial products by a private company. Except that no one was promoting or selling anything — anything, that is, other than a sex-positive attitude. The student group yells censorship. The dean says it’s just a simple case of misapplication of school rules.

Sound far-fetched? Think again. This is going on right now at the University of Wisconsin. And the school’s LSRJ chapter is in the thick of it. The chain of events might make more sense in, say, Alabama or Texas — states with a recent history of outlawing sex toys — but in Wisconsin? So it is.

Luckily, it appears as if the law school community is seeing through the dean’s flimsy reasoning. From the blog of one professor: “That sure sounds reasonable, and it might be if it wasn’t bulls**t!”

And so it appears. The person who came to speak at the event provided the education as a public service. Experts from Babeland have done the same thing at NYU without incident. They don’t bring anything to sell or push students to patronize the store. Instead, they come to promote safe and healthy sexuality. Shouldn’t a graduate school with a student body made up wholly of adults want its students to have access to all the information necessary to make informed, empowered, and healthy sexual choices? Wouldn’t a law school want to nurture the ideals of the First Amendment?

Wisconsin LSRJ thinks so, and the group is organizing students on campus to protest the dean’s actions. The major league blogs have picked up. And the pressure is mounting. But I guess this is the fight we a society can expect when we allow the government to fund abstinence-only “education” programs, which plant the seed of our dysfunctional thinking about sexuality.

4 thoughts on “Sex Toys and Censorship

  1. This is outrageous. The dean admitted his mistake but still did not let the event continue? Also, why didn’t the dean just talk to the organizers and ask if the company was going to sell sex toys? Since he didn’t do that, clearly this was about his discomfort with sex on campus and not about some school policy. I hope the students bring that up in their protests!

  2. Wow, what an amazing turn of events. Here’s to the folks at Wisconsn LSRJ – are there any Wisconsin LSRJ alums who could help organize a response? Schools don’t like to lose potential donors.

  3. I am always amazed when an institution of higher education — which you would think would be open to ALL kinds of ideas — turn out to be controlling and constricting representing only a single point of view. More so, even, for public colleges and universities.

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