NPR logo Univ. President: After-Class Sex Display Showed 'Extremely Poor Judgment'


Univ. President: After-Class Sex Display Showed 'Extremely Poor Judgment'

Fallout from an after-class exhibition in which a couple demonstrated the use of a motorized sex toy has roiled the campus of Northwestern University.

After initially defending professor John Michael Bailey, who allowed dozens of students to view the demonstration, Northwestern's president now says that he's "troubled and disappointed" by the incident. And the university now plans to conduct an investigation into the incident.

Here's the new statement from the school's president, Morton Schapiro:

I have recently learned of the after-class activity associated with Prof. Michael Bailey's Human Sexuality class, and I am troubled and disappointed by what occurred.

Although the incident took place in an after-class session that students were not required to attend and students were advised in advance, several times, of the explicit nature of the activity, I feel it represented extremely poor judgment on the part of our faculty member. I simply do not believe this was appropriate, necessary or in keeping with Northwestern University's academic mission.

Northwestern faculty members engage in teaching and research on a wide variety of topics, some of them controversial. That is the nature of a university. However, in this instance, I have directed that we investigate fully the specifics of this incident, and also clarify what constitutes appropriate pedagogy, both in this instance and in the future.

Many members of the Northwestern community are disturbed by what took place on our campus. So am I.

The class on sexuality taught by Bailey, a psychology professor, regularly draws up to 600 students.

The story was first reported by the school newspaper, which has also published a statement from professor Bailey about the event.

In that statement, Bailey explains why he did not stop the demonstration:

After all, those still there had stayed for an optional demonstration/lecture about kinky sex and were told explicitly what they were about to see. The demonstration, which included a woman who enjoyed providing a sexually explicit demonstration using a machine, surely counts as kinky, and hence as relevant.

The professor ends his statement with the observation, "Thoughtful discussion of controversial topics is a cornerstone of learning."