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Tuesday October 10, 2000

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ASUA supports content of sex workshop

By Benjamin Kim

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Educational event was meant to make students feel comfortable about discussing sex

Members of Associated Students and the Women's Resource Center are standing behind the graphic content of last Thursday's sex workshop.

The workshop was funded through the WRC's budget, which receives its funding from Associated Students at the beginning of each academic year.

"I personally have trust in our directors, they are experts in their fields," ASUA Sen. Matt Bailey said "If they have taken the time to put such programs together, we should support them."

ASUA approved the contract for the Merryl Sloane, a sex educator, to speak.

"With the information we got as a senate, we knew the general topic, but we didn't know the level of the graphic content of the workshop," Bailey said.

This was the first sex workshop funded by ASUA and organized by the Women's Resource Center, said Kate Schroll, co-director at the center. More than 50 people went to the workshop, and listened to Sloane discuss techniques to improve sexual relationships and have safer sex.

"I really don't think it was graphic," Schroll said. The workshop's topic was based on the students that attended and what they were wanted to discuss.

"It's is a topic that everybody talks about and by labeling it as 'graphic' you're making students less open to talk about it," she said.

The Women's Resource Center is planning at least one other workshop for next month, and more are likely to be planned for the spring semester, Schroll said.

"(The content) is something we have to take into account for future workshops," said Ben Graff, ASUA president.

The topic and content of the workshop will remain similar to last week's program, she said.

"We're looking for programming with a bigger draw," Schroll said. "It gives people a forum to talk about sex openly, and you're giving them skills to communicate openly about other topics."

Some students who attended the workshop said they thought the descriptive nature of the workshop was its draw.

"She was being real - I wouldn't say it was graphic," said LeeAnn Crickenberger, a political science junior who attended the workshop.

The speaker was not intentionally being vulgar, but instead was using words that might be considered inappropriate, she added.

"She wanted students to feel comfortable talking about it," Crickenberger said. "I could easily see how it would be graphic for someone not comfortable with talking about sex."

While Graff said he wasn't sure what student reaction to the event was, he said he was pleased with the way the WRC promoted it.

"I am in support of how the WRC advertized that," Graff said. "It wasn't something hidden."