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Researchers fight Indiana University’s attempt to sever ties with Kinsey Institute

IU board of trustees to vote on spinning off Kinsey Institute

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — The Indiana University Board of Trustees will hear a proposal Friday that would allow the university to spin off the Kinsey Institute into a nonprofit.

Established by famed sexologist Alfred Kinsey, the Kinsey Institute has been housed at Indiana University since 1947.

Senior Scientist Cynthia Graham said the institute’s goal is to promote a greater understanding of sexuality through research.

“It ranges in research into things like contraception. That’s one of my areas. We have a big program on sexual assault, and on trauma, but also a lot of research on relationships,” said Graham.

Last spring, the state legislature voted on a budget amendment barring Kinsey from receiving any state dollars. Graham said the move is political.

“We don’t receive any state funding for our research,” said Graham. “The funding comes primarily from awards and grants that we get as researchers and also donations.”

If the IU Board of trustees votes to separate the university from Kinsey, the university will keep Kinsey’s world-renowned collection of erotic art.

“It includes everything from artifacts, historical artifacts that are really precious actually, and also art. Photographs, paintings, sculptures,” said Graham.

IU President Pamela Whitten and Provost Rahul Shrivastav both said they support the institute.

“The university is firmly committed to protecting the intellectual freedom and academic inquiry of the Kinsey Institute, and is taking important steps to ensure that its vital work continues in perpetuity,” IU said in a statement emailed to News 8.

“We’re worried about what’s going to happen with the staff. There is talk about some of the administrative staff , it’s not clear who that would be would be moved off campus. We worry about, of course, safety and security as well, because the Kinsey over the years has always been under attack,” said Graham.

Graham believes there are people out there that don’t like Kinsey’s mission of studying human sexuality, and this is their way of expressing their anger.

“It’s seen as very taboo, and overly sensitive,” said Graham.

Rep. Lorissa Sweet (R-Wabash) proposed the amendment to strip state funding from Kinsey. News 8 contacted Sweet for comment, but did not hear back from her office.