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Pornography lessons in Westminster are still planned, despite the pressure of social networks

Pornography lessons in Westminster are still planned, despite the pressure of social networks

Despite a significant denial on social media, Westminster College is sticking to its plans to offer optional pornography classes during the upcoming May semester.

Each spring, Westminster College offers students short-term credit experience, which may include study abroad opportunities or intensive study of subjects that are often unrelated to their majors.

“We do not intend to deviate from the offer of this class. By and large, the campus community supports this academic freedom and Westminster’s drive to speak on difficult topics, ”said Sheila Yorkin, director of marketing at Westminster College.

Westminster is a private, nonprofit, accredited, and comprehensive college of the humanities in Salt Lake City.

The college has experienced pressure on social media, phone calls and even docking some staff since conservative influential leader, talk show host, political commentator and activist Candice Owens tweeted about the course earlier this week.

“I thought it was a joke – it’s not. This is a pornography class that you can enroll in at Westminster College in Salt Lake City. The description of the class says that porn is American like an apple pie, and students will watch pornographic movies together and discuss sex as an art form, ”she tweeted to her 3 million Twitter followers.

Yorkin said the elective with two credits would teach “a well-prepared, published Ph.D. who taught such classes and the like and subjects in this direction. She has many measures when students feel uncomfortable, or whatever it is, to leave the room, and there is no academic punishment for that. So she’s really aware of the sensitivity of that, and she’s a professional. ”

Currently, 14 students over the age of 18 have enrolled in a class that will include watching movies, reading, analyzing, talking and “looking at it from all perspectives,” Yorkin said.

Associate Professor Eileen Chanza Torres, who will teach the class, said she is completing her ninth academic year at Westminster and has taught similar courses in the past.

“Since the beginning of my work, I have been teaching courses on sexual research. It’s really interesting how it “leaked” because it was never private, “Torres said.

The pornography course will meet twice a week for three hours over a four-week semester, and students will “think seriously about this media,” she said.

“The course really isn’t just about sitting down and watching porn and then coming home, is it? This is not something we never do. There are active conversations, and so we look at the history of pornography in movies. Once a human animal creates a new technology, we invest in its sex. … And that’s pretty much the focus of how pornography has evolved along with technology, ”she explained.

Some expressed concern that children were exposed to pornography or that Westminster students were forced to attend classes. Neither one nor the other is true, she said.

“You could graduate from Westminster College without seeing me, and we’re a small campus. Nobody is forced to go to classes with me, ”she said.

Obviously, the lesson is not for everyone, and the content is difficult, as the class explores topics such as fantasies of rape and violent pornography, she said.

One of Torres’ goals is to create a safe space for students to study pornography in a group and hold class discussions.

“I tell the students, ‘If it’s too much, you can knock.’ You can get out. You don’t need to tell me anything about it, it’s okay. You know, in the past I have never had a single student come out of these discussions, ”she said.

Torres said the Westminster College community includes students and faculty with diverse experiences and perspectives. Torres grew up in the Catholic Church and comes from a conservative family and she respects a wide range of perspectives, she said.

“We have a lot of conservative students, and to imagine that everyone teaches our students porn or sex is actually untrue. We teach quite a few courses that include gender, gender and sexuality, but there are probably conservative people on this campus who are not happy with this course, ”she said.

But scientists in many disciplines have been studying porn “for a very, very long time in different ways,” Torres said. What struck the nerves at this stage of the class was somewhat surprising, but “it’s an amazing time to teach sexual research, a critical theory of race. It’s never been a good time, but it’s definitely a little more volatile than in the recent past. “

The description of the course FILM-3000 Porn from the online catalog of the college reads:

“Hardcore pornography is as American as apple pie, and more popular than football on Sunday night. Our approach to this billion-dollar industry is both a cultural phenomenon that reflects and reinforces sexual inequality (but has the potential to challenge sexual and gender norms), and as an art form that requires serious thought. We will watch pornographic films together and discuss the sexualization of race, class and gender and as an experimental, radical art form. ”

The college made the following statement regarding the class:

“Westminster College from time to time offers elective courses like this as an opportunity to analyze social issues. As part of this analysis, Westminster College and universities across the county often consider potentially offensive topics such as pornography to better understand their prevalence and impact. The description of these courses, although alarming to some readers, helps students decide whether they want to engage in a serious investigation of controversial subjects. ”

Torres said the dispute is likely to be short-lived.

“I am sure that it will calm down soon, and people would forget about it before the start of classes. Well, that’s hope, “she said.

The content is not new, nor is the teaching of pornography on college campuses, Torres said.

“I mean, there’s a scientific journal called Porn Studies. This is old news, ”she said.

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