Education

Price tag on public university’s raucous gay sex seminar: $24,000

Robby Soave Reporter

The University of Oregon (U.O.) paid popular sex columnist Dan Savage a whopping $24,000 to talk to students about fisting, gorilla suit fetishes and gay marriage, according to an investigation.

The Register-Guard recently obtained a copy of Savage’s contract with the university through a Freedom of Information Act request. According to the details of the contract, the taxpayer-funded university paid Savage $24,000 to come to campus and answer students’ sex-related questions in mid October.

Savage had to pay his own travel, lodging and meal costs, though U.O. did shuttle him from the airport to his hotel, and then to the university and back.

His freewheeling discussion with students centered around the nitty gritty details of sex, sexuality and sexual education.

“You guys are setting the agenda tonight, so however dirty or inappropriate the conversation gets — it’s your fucking fault,” he told students at the start of the event, The Daily Emerald reports.

Savage’s visit to campus was also intended to promote the launch of the university’s smartphone app, SexPositive. The app allows users to spin a wheel to link sexual positions and body parts with activities and objects — like “anal plug” and “stuffed animals.” It also attempts to educate users about safe-sex practices.

Officials said the app had been downloaded over 4,000 times, and thanked Savage for his work in bringing attention to it.

“We are pleased with the activities to educate students about health,” said Keith Van Norman, marketing manager for the university health center, in a statement to The Register-Guard.

Van Norman spearheaded the effort to bring Savage to campus, and said the $24,000 price tag was well worth it.

“The return a university gets from sponsoring programs where students are exposed to nationally prominent people is in the form of sparking thought and considering new perspectives,” he said. “This is part of the work of a university.”

But some wondered whether it was appropriate to use public funds to pay for it.

“Keep in mind, all this ‘sex ed’ is on the taxpayers’ dime,” wrote The College Fix.

The university did not respond to a request for comment.

While Savage’s liberal views and sexual openness made him a big hit with most students, not everyone welcomed his presence. Theta Pi Sigma, a Greek organization that advocates greater tolerance at UO, protested the event.

The reason? Savage has made disparaging comments toward bisexuals in the past, and has cast doubt on the existence of bisexuality. Such thinking is biphobic, said protest organizers.

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