Marquette Withdraws Support for Student-Led Sex Group

February 27, 2013

Two years after they rescinded a deanship offer to a lesbian, prompting a debate about sexuality at the institution, Marquette University officials have again flip-flopped on their support – this time of a student group – because it was at odds with the Roman Catholic institution's mission and identity. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Marquette’s Gender and Sexuality Resource Center is no longer chartering the student-run workshop FemSex, after a student alerted the provost and president to the workshop’s curriculum. Officials say that they were not initially aware of the workshop’s content. The resource center is in its first year, a spokesman said, and is working with administrators to clarify its student program approval process.

The center’s charter states that it “maintains fidelity to the University’s Catholic Jesuit heritage and character by attending to the needs of its students, both social and intellectual, and fostering knowledge and justice on issues having to do with gender and sexuality.” The more potentially contentious contents of FemSex’s curriculum include fostering safer sex, abortion, masturbation, and homosexuality. The group was also scheduled to discuss the intersection of faith and sexuality.

In a statement sent to Inside Higher Ed, FemSex at Marquette co-founder Claire Van Fossen said the workshop does not push an ideology or morality. The group’s mission statement: “FemSex provides a safe space for exploration, encourages honest dialogue, and facilitates collective learning. It engages and grapples with the social forces that inform individual experiences, and seeks to build allyship.” FemSex evolved from unrelated but identically named groups at Brown University and the University of California at Berkeley.

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