Sex research may soon disappear in Indiana – at least, that is, the sex research practiced at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction. If State House Republicans Woody Burton, Cindy Noe and Marlen Stutzman get their way, over $200,000 of state appropriations allotted to the Bloomington-based institute will be cut.
Bill 1841 reads, “…state appropriations may not be used for the administration, operation or programs of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction.” It goes on to define administration, operations or programs as: “on-campus facilities, equipment, land, utilities, advertising, loans, grants, special accounts, funds, programs, special projects, research, maintenance of facilities, administrative costs, operation costs, rentals, mortgages, printing, publication, restoration or housing of research documents and exhibits or displays.”
The intent of this law seems to be to restrict nearly every activity the institute participates in, which are, for the most part, research activities. According to a Legislative Services Agency funding statement, state appropriations for the institute were $223,000 for 2003-04.
“We are concerned about that legislation and we are opposing it,” said Indiana University spokesman Larry McIntyre of IU Media Relations. “We are urging law makers not to pass it. We believe quite strongly that the research conducted at Kinsey is just as important and valuable as that of any other department at IU.”
According to McIntyre, the Kinsey Institute has received criticism in the past because of its once-controversial nature. Alfred Kinsey, a Harvard-trained zoologist, who was originally asked to teach an IU undergrad course for married students, founded the institute in 1947. While teaching the course, Dr. Kinsey noticed that, at the time, not much was known about human sexuality. This type of research was a hot-button issue then. Today, of course, thanks in part to the work of the Kinsey Institute, sexual behavior research is common nationwide. “All of the research conducted by Kinsey is carefully reviewed by the university so that it’s done properly,” McIntyre said.
He added that the Kinsey Institute has uncovered groundbreaking information on sexually transmitted diseases, child molestation and sexual violence, to name a few areas of interest.
The bill was read for the first time on Jan. 25, and was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee. If passed, the law will take effect on July 1, 2005, thus cutting state funding for the institute immediately.
To obtain more information on the Kinsey Institute, visit www.indiana.edu/~kinsey.