I’m honored to have been invited to participate in a very important panel at Brown University, one I hope you will attend if you are able. The panel, called “Sex Panic!: When Educators Are Censors” is inspired by the need for a forum for the Brown University community to discuss the role of students, educators, and institutions regarding the stigmatization of certain kinds of speech, notably conversations about sexuality and the relationship between free speech and education. In a shining example of openness, the Sexual Health Education and Empowerment Council (SHEEC), whose mission is the promotion of sexual health and wellness on Brown’s campus is sponsoring the panel such that it is completely free to attend and open to the public.

Censorship causes blindness: Can you see who's blinding you?Who should have a say in a college student’s sex education?

Join Brown Prof. Jim Green and his panel of sexperts as they discuss the role of students, educators, institutions, and censorship in how sex education gets brought and taught to today’s college campuses.

Date: Tuesday, May 4th, 2010
Time: 6-8pm EST
Where: Brown University’s Smith-Buonanno Hall, Room 106 View Map
95 Cushing Street, Providence, RI 02906
Cost:
FREE – open to eveyone!

(The above via Reid Mihalko’s website.)

SHEEC is doing fantastic work at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. It’s the organization that not only sponsored KinkForAll Providence, but also produced Sex Week 2010, which featured sessions lead by the “Sex Education Warrior QueenMegan Andelloux and other accredited sexuality educators like Shanna Katz, and just this week brought Sinclair Sexsmith to talk about “Fucking With Gender 2.0,”, which all aim to empower other students to learn about and stand up for their sexual freedoms and rights. I think SHEEC along with Brown University should be lauded for so openly supporting its students rights to organize peacefully and create events like these.

Unfortunately, SHEEC’s events and its hardworking Chairperson, Aida Manduley, have been repeatedly criticized by certain alums, notably Margaret Brooks, who, along with Professor of Women’s Studies Donna M. Hughes, published numerous “bulletins” insinuating that participants at SHEEC’s events are criminals. Therefore, SHEEC put together this somewhat academic-styled panel to discuss things. Moreover, and perfectly aligned with the principles of inspiring conversation that KinkForAll so strongly supports, I learned that Aida has even personally invited Margaret Brooks, Donna M. Hughes, and Hughes’s associate, Melanie Shapiro, to attend in the hopes of fostering a dialogue!

With Aida’s permission to post it, here’s the email she sent to Donna M. Hughes, Margaret Brooks, and Melanie Shapiro:

Date: Thu, Apr 22, 2010 at 11:38 PM
Subject: Invitation to Event at Brown University
To: melanieshapiro4@gmail.com, mbrooks@bridgew.edu, dhughes@uri.edu, dhughes71@cox.net

Dear ladies,

Since you have shown persistent interest in the events I have coordinated and facilitated at Brown University through SHEEC (the Sexual Health Education & Empowerment Council), as the organization’s Chairperson, I cordially invite you to attend the next one: “Sex Panic!: When Educators Are Censors” on May 4th, 2010, at 6:00pm in Smith-Buonanno Room 106. I hope you will take this opportunity to constructively converse with myself and the other people whom you have publicly denigrated and misrepresented, as I feel it is deeply saddening and highly unfortunate that you are so eager to attack my organization and its events while refusing to engage with me or even do basic research about what it is that I do and promote.

Sincerely,

– Aida Manduley

I’m very impressed that SHEEC has not only produced numerous outstanding events in the past few months but has also responded to attacks on their leadership with (multiple) invitations to dialogueinvitations that, to date, have all been tacitly declined. Like Aida, I sincerely hope to get the opportunity to speak directly with Donna M. Hughes and Margaret Brooks during the Q&A period I’ve been told will take place at the end of the panel event. Since I think it’s incredibly important to continue to inspire conversations about sexuality in all its diversity, I’ve accepted SHEEC’s invitation and am looking forward to sitting beside SHEEC Chairperson Aida Manduley, sex educator Megan Andelloux, Brown alumn Reid Mihalko, and Brown Professor of History and Brazilian Studies Jim Green to both share and learn what I can.

That Q&A session, in particular, is why I think it’s so important that if you can attend, you do attend. And regardless of whether you can be there or not, please tell everyone you know in New England about this event, and cross-post the event details to any and all appropriate places. Everyone deserves the right to participate in public discourse.

Please help me make sure everyone is empowered to claim that right for themselves.

Update: If you’re on Facebook, SHEEC has created a Sex Panic!: When Educators Are Censors Facebook event for you to sign up for and share with your friends. There are also more details on the SHEEC website, and a personal post about the upcoming panel from Aida herself.

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