Students seem to support prof in sex toy demo

March 7, 2011 3:19:01 PM PST
Monday was final exam day for students taking the human sexuality course at Northwestern University.

Last month, an optional after-class lecture included a live demonstration of a sex toy. Monday, students and school officials said they want to put the controversy behind them.

There is no one who wants to move on more than university president Morton Schapiro. He issued an online statement Monday. At the same time, there is an online student petition going on in support of Professor J. Michael Bailey, especially those students in his class.

Northwestern students were anxious to get a seat in the popular human sexuality class, not for its recent controversy, but because Monday is the class final. While the course professor is under a university investigation for approving an optional after-class live sex demonstration, hundreds of students support Bailey.

"I was kind of disappointed that the president wasn't supporting him, because I mean, it is academic freedom, and I don't think many people were actually offended. I think people who were not involved in the situation were offended," said Courtney Harden, student.

When the story broke last week, Professor bailey alerted his students about the potential controversy and told them he had no regrets.

Three days later, after the story became national news, Bailey issued a statement that reads in part, "I regret the effect this has had on Northwestern's reputation and regret upsetting so many people in this particular manner. I apologize."

Bailey went on to defend his decision. Some students in his class do not think an apology was necessary after he already made a statement in class.

"It is totally political," said student Peter Krivicich. "The professor meant what he said the first time. He regrets that some people were bothered, but it is academic. I agree with him in that case."

Some students are disappointed in the administration that backed Professor Bailey at first and then announced an investigation.

Monday, in an online statement, Northwestern President Schapiro gave what read like a pep talk. He said, "Controversy attends all universities, including ours...And when it does occur, there will be disagreement on how the university should respond, even among the most thoughtful of our more than 250,000 parents, students, faculty, staff and alumni."

"I hope it dies. I don't want to hear anything more about it," said Krivicich.

There was no mention in Schapiro's statement regarding the investigation, where it stands and when that investigation will be over with.

Professor Bailey has not responded to any of ABC7's interview requests.

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