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November 11, 1999 12:00pm
Audit Clears Sex Center of Wrongdoing
Source: Free X-press
by: Kat Sunlove

(NORTHRIDGE, CA) --A legislative audit of Cal State Northridge's Center for Sex Research released this week found nothing improper in its staging of a 1998 pornography conference, but suggested the university establish clearer guidelines for academic conferences.

Chancellor Charles Reed pledged to put such a policy in place by early next year. In the 26-page report, State Auditor Kurt Sjoberg concluded "the absence of clear standards for staging academic conferences and for judging their academic sufficiency [does] not allow us to determine that this conference lacked academic merit."

Sjoberg added that most universities around the country lack such standards. James Elias, the director and founder of the Center for Sex Research, said he felt vindicated by the audit. "What it comes down to is: Are we a university that can research and study issues--and not only the most popular issues, not only issues with which we agree?" he said.

State Sen. Ray Haynes (R-Riverside) had accused the University of using state funds for a "pornography trade show" by allowing the 1998 World Pornography Conference. He urged the Joint Legislative Audit Committee to direct the state auditor to review the center's books.

Sjoberg confirmed that CSUN provided no funding for the conferences and that the porn event earned the center $43,000, while incurring $22,000 in costs. But he also concluded that CSUN provided services such as issuing press releases and handling contacts by the media--services Haynes said went too far.

"In my opinion the biggest substantive contribution was the use of [CSUN's] prestige," Haynes said. "The state ought to have some way of dealing with just exactly this sort of thing, so the university can distance itself from activities like this." Haynes said he expects the university to create standards and policies on its own, but will draft legislation anyway, "just to make sure."

From an article by Solomon Moore, LA Times, 11/11/99

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