This week, Southern is holding Sexual Integrity Week. According to Religion Professor and Senior Advisor for Sexual Integrity Alan Parker, this is the first time the university has held a week of events dedicated to sexual integrity, and the university has plans to hold it annually.
According to the January 14-17 Weekender, Tuesday night worship will discuss a topic on the theme of sexual integrity. Parker said Thursday’s convocation speaker will discuss sex trafficking, and Parker and his wife, Nicole, will talk about God’s design for sex during Vespers on Friday.
“We’re trying to deal with both bad sexuality and good sexuality and create a balance so that people can see that God has a desire for good sex,” Parker said in an interview with the Accent. “But we’re not afraid to talk about the bad parts of sexuality: pornography, trafficking, etc.”
Booths highlighting sexual awareness will be set up in the Bietz Center and on the promenade Wednesday and Thursday, according to the Weekender. Additionally, Parker said a website of resources on the topics of dating, relationships and sexuality are available this week through the McKee Library and the Office of Ministry and Missions.
At the time of the interview with Parker on January 13, a new proposed Sexual Integrity Policy was being reviewed by a lawyer. Parker said he hopes to be able to introduce the new policy during the week.
Parker said there are three new additions to the proposed policy, including policies on pregnancy, pornography and transgender students living in the dormitories.
“We have a new policy on pregnancy, which basically gives assurance that if a student [who’s pregnant] comes forward, they are going to get support during their pregnancy, not condemnation,” Parker said. “They can’t be kicked out. The university is going to provide support for them.”
According to Parker, the new policy on pornography defines what pornography is and provides options for support.
The policy relating to transgender individuals states that students’ on-campus living situations will be accomodated by the sex assigned to them at birth. If those living situations do not work for transgender students, the university will work with those individuals to find accomodations outside of the dormitories, Parker said.
Along with the mentioned additions, the policy’s section on public displays of affection (PDA) has also been more clearly defined, according to Parker.
“The last PDA policy was very vague,” Parker said. “… No one wants to be the morality police. But in terms of defining what’s acceptable public behavior and what isn’t acceptable public behavior, we’ve tried to be a little more careful in defining that.”
Prohibited behaviors under the new policy would include but not be limited to intimate touching, fondling or prolonged kissing. Parker said the new Sexual Integrity Policy will be released later in the semester.