This Week in the Mercury


Thursday, January 20, 2011

OSU Students Petition to Get Sex Writer Back to Campus

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 5:23 PM

Not at OSU, please.
  • Not at OSU, please.
This morning, the internet was in flames with the news that Oregon State University un-invited national sex writer Tristan Taormino from their Modern Sex conference. In October, the students and staff organizing the conference asked her to be their keynote speaker and drafted a contract promising $3,000 plus travel expenses to headline the event with a talk about "Claiming Your Sexual Power." This week, less than a month before the conference, the administration nixed the plan, saying it was improper use of state funds to pay for a speaking gig by a "self-proclaimed pornographer" who sells her work online.

So what do OSU students feel about the whole thing?

"It's something students are definitely talking about. It's at the forefront of conversations: How can we get her to campus?" says Associated Student President Andrew Struthers. He and the campus Women's CenterWomen's Affairs Task Force Director are circulating a petition to see if students would be up for re-inviting Taormino and funding the gig with student activity money. Struthers says every student he's talked to so far has been in favor of bringing Taormino to campus, but believes the administration that the cancellation is about funding, not the content of Taormino's talk.

Senior women's studies major Alea Payne, from Gresham, criticizes OSU admins for not talking with organizers earlier and working out a solution. "There was no conversation with students, no dialogue," says Payne, pointing out that the policy of who can and can't be paid using the state's funding is not a written policy but a subjective one.

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