Campus police pull videotape during erotica celebration

FLORIDA — The appeal continues in the case of a University of South Florida student who showed an lesbian instructional sex video in public.

Amy Andre from the New College at the University of South Florida has been granted a preliminary injunction against the university after campus police confiscated a instructional sex video she had shown in public.

The injunction stops the university from punishing Andre until the case is settled. The university is appealing the injunction and has until Sept. 30 to file a brief for the appeal.

Andre had the video taken away last fall while she was projecting it on the side of a dormitory building as part of a school-sponsored event to celebrate a student erotica publication.

The Florida American Civil Liberties Union quickly jumped to the defense of Andre. Florida ACLU attorney for the case Andrew Kayton said the campus police who confiscated “Annie Sprinkle’s Sluts and Goddesses Video Workshop” violated Andre’s First Amendment rights.

University spokesman Todd Simmons said this was not a case of her First Amendment rights being violated.

“We strongly support First Amendment rights,” Simmons said. “Where the university did draw the line is the showing of a movie that is explicit in nature.

“The question we have to ask is whether it’s appropriate for people under the age of 18,” he added.

Kayton said at this particular university, however, the activities in which Andre participated and the video she displayed are not unusual.

“The context is everything,” Kayton said. “[The university] historically has had an alternative lifestyle. What happened is not just out of the ordinary, but comparatively tame.”

The video, Kayton said, was “basically an instructional video on lesbian sex,” produced by performance artist and “sexpert” Annie Sprinkle. Sprinkle is a former prostitute and porn actress and has produced sex programs for HBO.

“It’s racy stuff, but it’s perfectly legitimate,” Kayton said about the video.

A federal district court in Florida apparently agreed, and the university will not be allowed to proceed with disciplinary hearings against Andre.

Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich wrote in Andre v. Castor (M.D.Fla. 1997) that disciplinary action by the school based on obscenity “would constitute an ongoing constitutional violation.”

Andre’s lawsuit against university officials has been stalled until the federal court of appeals decides whether she has the right to sue the state employees involved.