An Inclusive Litany

2/15/02

The University of California at Berkeley suspended a student-run course on "Male Sexuality" after the Daily Californian reported that class activities included a spirited outing to a topless bar followed by a post-class party featuring a group orgy and a game in which students snap Polaroid pictures of their genitals so that others can try to match the picture with the person. The suspension put on hold planned guest lectures by porn star Nina Hartley, a spokesperson from an anti-circumcision group, and the proprietor of a Bay Area sex shop.

Caren Kaplan, who chairs the Women's Studies department that offered the course for credit, defended the course, telling the Cal, "I don't police the content." In fact, it was her responsibility to approve and supervise the class. "In the class we don't say anything is right or wrong," added Morgan Janssen, a student who taught the course. "The majority of the class is just talking," said Ian Bach, another student instructor. "The class is superemotional."

Other student-run courses include "Body Dissatisfaction," the description for which explains: "Whether you have a diagnosed eating disorder or just hate your body, we will deconstruct our feelings and come to the root of the problem." In "Copwatch," students "learn how to safely and effectively assert [their] rights when interacting with the police." And in "Dialogue," students attempt "to create a collectively conscious group of people that can explore the world creatively together without antagonism. All disciplines welcome. No exams."

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