DURHAM — The University of New Hampshire is under fire in some quarters after a student committee unanimously approved spending funds from student activity fees for a lecture and workshop tonight titled "Orchestrating Orgasms."
Megan Andelloux, who calls herself a "clinical sexologist and certified sexuality educator," said on her website that participants would learn about the biological, psychological and sociological issues surrounding orgasms.
A Facebook post promised sexually explicit gifts for some audience members.
The Student Activity Fee Committee unanimously approved the request after hearing a presentation explaining the lecture/workshop.
"It's going to be a very educational event," said UNH senior Danielle Koppel, the organizational financial officer who voted to fund the event. "The way she hosts her lectures, it talks to students in a way that they want to hear, that they identify with."
Koppel said she would need to look up how much money was provided.
But others don't believe an event such as tonight's lecture should be paid for with student activity fees.
"I don't see what the educational value is to a lecture or series of lectures like this at all," said Ashley Pratte, executive director of Cornerstone Action, a conservative advocacy organization.
"I'm not too sure the topic is something students at that age should be encouraged to learn about," Pratte said. "It's not like it's promoting safety or prevention. It's more of a fun way to promote sex, which seems a bit odd that a college would be promoting that type of environment, especially when we're seeing the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) report on how venereal diseases are on the rise."
Greg Moore, the New Hampshire director of Americans for Prosperity, which advocates smaller government and lower taxes, said the University System of New Hampshire has lobbied for more taxpayer dollars, but then allows student activity fees to be spent on such events.
"Some parents as well as students and people in the community might ask why the student activity fee is going to events like this, as minimal as the amount it might be," Moore said.
Moore said he can't figure out how the orgasm lecture and a recent student group bringing in current or former prostitutes and strippers for a student forum, titled "Sex Workers Rights are Human Rights," helps in the university's rebranding campaign, which involves spending around $100,000 in private donations.
"Their brand is being hijacked by talking about $100,000 logos and prostitutes coming in from California" and now this lecture, Moore said. "From a branding standpoint, that does damage."
A university spokesman didn't respond to e-mail and phone inquiries seeking comment from the administration.
Pamela Diamantis, chair of the USNH board of trustees, wasn't available for comment, according to her office.
The free event, hosted by the Memorial Union Student Organization, starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Granite State Room.