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8 College Sex Scandals That Got ‘Extra’ Curricular

The wild controversies that rocked campuses

Ethan Miller/Getty Images; Brian Bahr/Getty Images; Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT

Miriam Weeks, an 18-year-old freshman at Duke University, made headlines in January when she was outed as pornographic actress Belle Knox. And in the new issue of Rolling Stone, she reveals how her life has changed since her day job became public knowledge (read the full feature here now). But Weeks isn't the first student to gain national exposure from extra-curricular activities; over the past decade, sex has moved off campus, bringing controversy, debate and – in some cases – criminal charges with it. Here's a look at some of the scandals that earned extra credit, and captivated the nation along the way. By James Montgomery


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The Duke Lacrosse Scandal

Rife with social subtext, the 2006 case involving three members of Duke University's lacrosse team and a stripper hired to perform at their off-campus party made national headlines. After an initial verbal altercation at the party, one of the two dancers alleged that she had been raped by a Duke player, and prosecutors ordered 46 members of the team to submit to DNA tests. Those tests failed to connect them to the rape, though that didn't stop three athletes from being arrested, each of whom maintained their innocence. The credibility of the accuser was brought into question, and eventually, the North Carolina Attorney General dismissed the case, citing a lack of evidence. The lead prosecutor, Mike Nifong, was disbarred, and several members of the Duke lacrosse team filed suit against the university.

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Arizona State University Cheerleaders Strip Down

In 2008, Arizona State University threatened to cut cheerleading entirely after a series of racy photos began circulating. The pics in question were relatively tame – they showed six members of the squad posing in their underwear at a party – but they came on the heels of another scandal involving an ASU cheerleader (a former member just happened to appear in a porn film while wearing her uniform), so we can certainly understand why the university had cause for concern. Turns out, the photos were actually taken at a party two years prior, and ASU eventually decided against shutting down the cheer program, to the delight of hitch pyramid fans everywhere.

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John Gechter Gets Out of Grove City

In 2009, 22-year-old John Gechter ran afoul of administrators at conservative Grove City College after it was discovered he had appeared in gay porn videos. Gechter, who claimed he was using his porn income to pay tuition, was suspended because he "exhibited behavior contrary to the values" of the school, though, after threatening legal action, he was eventually allowed to graduate. In a similar case earlier this year, 18-year-old high-school senior Robert Marucci was suspended after appearing in several gay pornographic videos, though he, too, was eventually allowed to return to school.


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Karen Owen’s Special List

Shortly before graduating from Duke in 2010, Karen Owen put together a PowerPoint presentation dubbed "An education beyond the classroom: excelling in the realm of horizontal academics," which ranked the prowess of her sexual partners in very graphic detail. Meant as a joke to be shared amongst her friends, the so-called "Fuck List" quickly went viral, and created a controversy, since it came a few years after the Duke lacrosse scandal and because Owen had included names and photos of her partners. She'd apologize, claiming she never meant to "intentionally hurt" anyone, and later that year, she'd receive our nation's highest honor: the "Fuck List" became the inspiration for an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

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Brandon Davies and the BYU Honor Code

Brandon Davies was a star player on Brigham Young University's basketball team in 2011, but that didn't make him untouchable; quite the opposite, in fact. Davies was suspended for violating BYU's student honor code, after he admitted to having premarital sex with his girlfriend. At the time, BYU's team was ranked third in the country, and they'd lose their next game following Davies' suspension (though they'd eventually make a run to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament). Davies was allowed back on the team the following year, and currently plays in the NBA, where the honor code is way more relaxed.

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Northwestern University gets Fed to the ‘F–k Saw’

Students in N.U.'s Human Sexuality class got an eyefull (and a lot more) during an optional presentation in 2011, which featured a woman being penetrated by an electric sex toy – described as a "Fucksaw" by its operator – onstage. The after-class, uh, demonstration was meant to explore female ejaculation, though not surprisingly, it led to complaints from several parents, and a rebuke from Northwestern's president. Eventually, Human Sexuality was dropped from the university's curriculum.


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Tennessee Gets Hot and Bothered Over ‘Sex Week’

State lawmakers were thrown into a tizzy earlier this year after the University of Tennessee brought back Sex Week, which aimed to "foster a comprehensive and academically-informed conversation about sex, sexuality and relationships" amongst students. Events included panel discussions, a Jeopardy-themed trivia game and even – gasp! – a drag show, which was apparently enough to inspire the state senate to pass a resolution condemning Sex Week, and consider further legislation aimed at placing restrictions on student fees that fund guest speakers at universities in the state. Eventually, politicians cooled off, and Sex Week went off without a hitch.