Billy Holder

Relationship Equality Foundation





University of North Florida Denies Students Access to Equal Sexual Education

Jacksonville, Florida, 2/8/2017  –  UNF Vice President Thomas Serwatka has decided to repeal two out of three of the classes offered by Relationship Equality Foundation for Sex Week UNF March 6-10 2017, on the basis of unfounded fear and bias against our community and students who identify within this community. This decision came after a short series of conservative articles had been published by Campus Reform.

A piece of programming that the University of North Florida holds is its annual Sex Week, presented by the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Resource Center. The Relationship Equality Foundation (REF) is a non-profit organization that deals with the continued advocacy and education of ethical non-monogamous relationships for consenting adults. The Foundation was asked if they would provide a couple of classes to compliment the overall mission of sex week, to provide safe, consensual, and educational information in regards to sexual activities. REF gave UNF three classes, “Coming out Kinky,” “Cheating Vs. Polyamory” and “Navigating New Relationship Energy (NRE).” Out of these three classes, two of them, “Coming out Kinky” and “Cheating Vs. Polyamory” were cancelled after an article by Campus Reform was published. This article was then picked up by several other conservative, right leaning, publications.

The students, nor REF were contacted by either Campus Reform nor by the University to explain these classes further, as both classes proved to be evidence based education in content and would fulfill the overall goal of Sex Week. Currently the students are angry and feel unheard, and are exercising every resource available to them, to bring these classes back. It is the belief of both REF and the students that there should be non-discriminatory sexual education for students to be a part of. Since this has occurred, there have been several letters written by both students and outside organizations, including the National Coalition of Sexual Freedom, addressed to the University asking for these classes to be put back on the schedule during sex week.

According to VP and Chief of Staff Tom Serwatka, the decision to cancel these classes stems from pressures from the supporters and lobbyist in favor of the HRO passage next week.   We at REF believe the HRO is a great thing and hope that it’s passage, for our community members in intersecting communities that it covers, will give them protections they do not currently have.

Relationship Equality Foundation

The Relationship Equality Foundation, Inc.’s (REF) purpose is to provide outreach, education and support for those involved in or seeking relationships with non-traditional structures, and education and outreach to the general public about these relationships.

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