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Wednesday, 20 February, 2002, 14:15 GMT
Saucy tales halt California sex class
Courses on male and female sexuality are on offer
An investigation has been launched after claims of lurid goings-on at a sex class sponsored by the University of California at Berkeley.

The student-run class on male sexuality was suspended after a report on its activities was published by a student newspaper.

It was alleged that students took part in an orgy at a party after a field trip, and that snapshots of genitals were taken for a party game.

A university spokeswoman was quoted as saying such activities were "not part of the approved course curriculum".

The fate of the course has yet to be decided.

Correspondents say Berkeley, known for its liberal thinking and avant-garde courses, is widely seen as the jewel in the state education system's crown.

'Kinda crazy'

Berkeley freshman Christy Kovacs was quoted as saying there was an "orgy" at a party organised for the class after the end-of-year outing to a strip club.

"And after we went to a strip club, at the party, people took Polaroid pictures of their genitalia."

This was for a game where party-goers would try to match the pictures with the person, the Daily Californian student newspaper said.

Another first-year student Jessica McMahon said the trip to a gay strip club "got kinda crazy" and one of the strippers "ended up getting fired".

She said although she was glad she took the class, it may not be for everyone.

Some of the instructors said attendance at the party was not mandatory. They also defended their course, saying students got the chance to discuss issues about sexuality they felt to be important.

'Democratic education'

The male sexuality class has been going for about five years. It is taught under the university's democratic eduation (or "de-cal") programme which provides student-run courses which count towards graduation.

It also includes courses such as Blackjack, where students are taught to count cards, and Copwatch, which advises students how to "safely and effectively assert their rights when interacting with police".

The policy on student-run classes stipulates that a faculty member at the university must sponsor each course and be responsible for its content.

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