Students may have the opportunity to win back some of their tuition in bingo prizes next Tuesday —prizes that include lube, dildos, edible underwear and vibrators.
Members of the UAB planned “Dirty Bingo” as part of its series of Valentine’s Day themed events. However, many students expressed outrage that the use of student fees might have been used to purchase items that many find offensive. In response, more than 100 students stated intent to gather at Witherspoon Student Center at 8:00 p.m. to protest the use of student fees to buy adult toys.
Issuing a statement Tuesday night, UAB president Lauryn Collier, stated that the 25 items purchased by UAB amounted to $304.64 of UAB’s $160,000 budget. It’s funded with taking less than one cent from each student in fees
Nevertheless, many students remain as upset as ever.
“This is a pretty slippery slope,” Patrick Dougherty, a senior in industrial engineering, said. “At what point should I start being worried that they’re spending money on things that I don’t want? It wasn’t the amount of money that was the big concern. It was about the principle that money could be going to stuff like that.”
Dougherty said that it was because of programs such as “Dirty Bingo” that he questioned the merits of the continued funding of the UAB. However, according to Rick Gardner, an advisor of the UAB, the organization has not seen an increase in funding during the past few years.
While the controversial program has split the student body, it remains to be seen which side, in fact, holds the majority.
Similar programs, such as “I Heart Female Orgasm,” attracted more than 550 students last year. And though 136 students said they plan to attend “Dirty Bingo,” some students say they doubt UAB will be able to fill the 460 seats of the campus cinema where the event is scheduled to take place.
Rebecca Law, a junior in statistics, said that she hopes the event will have a good turnout. She believes that programs such as “Dirty Bingo” are necessary to educate students about healthy sexual lifestyles beyond safe sex.
“Education about sex is one of the most important things for a healthy world, physically and psychologically,” Law said. “And I think once we can start talking about it openly, then maybe we can decrease unwanted pregnancies, increase comfort, decrease stigmas and increase overall health.”
According to Collier, the students that organized “Dirty Bingo” wanted to address many of the concerns about sexual health that Law brought up in their program.
“[We knew of programs like this] happening at other institutions and we had heard that they were very successful,” Collier said. “[We] want to help educate, about sex, students from all backgrounds, of all sexual orientations and we want to be able to demonstrate safe sex as well as safe sex that is adventurous, in heterosexual and homosexual relationships.”
Collier said that she and her team are continuing to work to find a way to address student concerns and some changes have been made to the original “Dirty Bingo” program
“I will be working with the advising staff as well as some of the students who programmed the event to try to look at some of the concerns students have,” Collier said. “And if there are items that occur over and over, items that are not appropriate, we will pull [them].”
“There is never going to be a time when you won’t offend someone, but if we can’t bring up controversial topics in a comfortable and open atmosphere, then we’re only hurting ourselves as people and students in the modern world,” Law said.