Patterico's Pontifications

3/3/2011

Life Imitates Monty Python (Example 10,521)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:29 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

There was truly a weird genius in the air when Monty Python did its best work given how applicable so much of their material has been over the years to multiple situations.  It is hard to think of too many bodies of work that was so easily citable and quotable as being relevant to so many diverse circumstances.  So for instance we have the NSFW Python skit based on sex education, which (ahem) climaxes with the teacher making love to his wife in front of his students in order to provide instruction.

So much for the claim that those who can’t, teach, eh?

But if you ever thought that this skit was too ridiculous to find a parallel in real life, well… just read below the fold.

A Northwestern University professor is under fire for reportedly holding an optional live-sex presentation on campus.

On Feb. 21, Psychology Prof. John Michael Bailey invited his “human sexuality” students to observe a non-student naked woman experiment with motorized sex toys on stage. According to the local NBC affiliate, about 120 students attended the demonstration. The questionable show was curated by Chicago “sex tour guide” Ken Melvoin-Berg.

“Talking about [sex] doesn’t always lend itself to this sort of thing,” Melvoin-Berg said. “We’re not just talking about it. We’re actually doing it.”

The University has reportedly declined to comment on the incident, but one student said the sex toy demonstration was billed as a question-and-answer session about sexual fetishes.

“Then, just out of nowhere, the girl just takes her pants off, takes her shirt off, takes her underwear off,” the stunned student said, adding that a number of people felt uncomfortable and promptly left. “As long as there’s been proper warning, the people that stay shouldn’t feel offended,” he said. “They‘re choosing to see what they’re seeing.”

I myself have to say that 1) if there is informed consent before this happens, and 2) none of the University’s money is going to this, I don’t think I would care even if I had a child enrolled  in that school.  But if I was in the University’s management, I would 1) be extremely dubious about the academic value of this and 2) extremely worried about hostile environment suits.  I have seen suits over classical art depicting naked women; a live sex show would seem to be a clear invitation for a Title IX suit.

Of course the funniest line in the piece is this one:

Bailey’s controversial class attracted 622 Northwestern students this semester alone.

Ninety percent of which are probably men.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

86 Responses to “Life Imitates Monty Python (Example 10,521)”

  1. Yep, the Python skit was the first thing I thought of.

    Gad.

    carol (5a5d33)

  2. Did they tape the class?

    daleyrocks (ae76ce)

  3. I don’t see anything terribly wrong with this, legally and morally (provided that it’s not, uh, thrust on unwary and uninformed students)

    On the other hand, from an educational standpoint, I don’t see it as particularly enlightening about watching a woman “experiment with sex toys”, even in a course about human sexuality. “Entertaining” is one thing. But “educational”?

    Of course, I’d probably be the guy to raise his hand in the middle of it all and ask “Is this going to be on the final?”

    Kman (5576bf)

  4. I’d ask for someone’s lecture notes, but they’re probably all sticky…

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  5. I think this article provides better information than The Blaze article about the “educational” value of the experience.

    Kman (5576bf)

  6. Kman/Forrest Gump

    If you don’t see a danger of sexual harrassment suits, you are a moron.

    Oh, wait, I forgot… you are a moron.

    For instance, Eugene Volokh runs down some of the past problems:

    http://www2.law.ucla.edu/volokh/harass/breadth.htm#ART

    note the example of the painting of the naked maja. volokh’s link is broken, but this one works.

    http://www.usc.edu/programs/cst/deadfiles/lacasis/ansc100/library/images/633.html

    As usual you substitute aggressive ignorance for discussion. You don’t see a problem, because you didn’t really think about it.

    And i say that not being terribly happy about this legal situation. but that is exactly what employers have to deal with, like it or not.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  7. How is this educational experience less useful in later life than a course in, say “White Male Suppression of Blacks and Women?”

    great unknown (261470)

  8. Yeah I can imagine the U of Mich having some more of their sex do’s and don’ts proclamations and sex contracts

    I wonder how they will name the parties in a live sex academic contract, I mean instead of lessor, lessee,

    any suggestions?

    EricPWJohnson (967261)

  9. AW:

    If you don’t see a danger of sexual harrassment suits…

    Volokh’s links relating to hostile work environments have little bearing on this matter. Students who voluntarily elect to take a course on human sexuality are going to have a hard time convincing a court that they are shocked — shocked! — by the sexual nature of the class.

    Again, as long as the students were forewarned and could opt out — and the facts (so far) indicate this was so — then there’s no serious danger of a successful sexual harassment lawsuit. That is what distinguishes this incident from Volokh’s “art and music” cases.

    Kman (5576bf)

  10. Judging from the media attention this little stunt got last night on the local news and the lame response by Northwestern’s PR guy, Cubbage, this ain’t playin’ too well in Peoria (or Chicago either for that matter.) This is an example of what “elite” students in 2011 are getting as education while we have to import technology and engineering students and scientists from abroad to fill those jobs. (PS. : The costs of a Northwestern degree are astronomical and the entrance requirements are staggering.) I haven’t checked lately, but I bet there is actually a lot of information about sexual fetishes which can be researched online, and without using university classrooms.

    elissa (6bf660)

  11. Any guy that would see this and think they were sexually harassed …

    It would be interesting to see what the reactions would be if it was a guy instead of a girl.

    However, if she looked like Rosie O’Donnell, Pelosi, or Michael Moore, they left themselves opened to potentially enormous awards for IIED.

    JD (2da347)

  12. I haven’t checked lately, but I bet there is actually a lot of information about sexual fetishes which can be researched online

    a) Lately? So how long has it been since you checked?

    b) Trust me, it’s all still there. In HD in some places, ever…

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  13. Usually, after a dildo show like that the actress passes the hat, and for an additional donation you can get your picture taken as a memento of the occasion with her in the buff sitting in your lap, or so I’m informed by presumably reliable sources.

    ropelight (ebd008)

  14. I bet there is actually a lot of information about sexual fetishes which can be researched online…

    Probably a lot of misinformation as well. It would be like trying to do a serious academic study of human sexuality by reading only the “Letters to Penthouse”.

    I suspect that’s why these college students (who no doubt know of online “information”) found the lecture and demonstration to be informative — because the people talking about their fetishes got past on the online myths and sensationalism.

    Kman (5576bf)

  15. elissa – Why are you such a big fan of broccoli?

    daleyrocks (ae76ce)

  16. Is it because of all the different ways it can be prepared and the different dishes it can be incorporated into and the vitamins it contains? Just asking.

    daleyrocks (ae76ce)

  17. Kman, as one of our other regulars here frequently says, “Good Allah”. I think the idea that this event was a “serious academic study of human sexuality” has been pretty thoroughly debunked.

    Jacobs, I am ignoring you.

    elissa (6bf660)

  18. I am ignoring you, too, Rahmrocks.

    elissa (6bf660)

  19. So you’re going to leave me to speculate wildly on my own?

    Are you sure that’s is entirely wise? :)

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  20. I think the idea that this event was a “serious academic study of human sexuality” has been pretty thoroughly debunked.

    Well, I too as very skeptical until I read another article about it (see comment #5). It seems the actual sexual demonstration was a small part of the whole event, and that some students claimed to derive some educational benefit. So I’ll be open to that possibility.

    Kman (5576bf)

  21. Forrest/Kman

    > Volokh’s links relating to hostile work environments

    It’s the exact same issue when you are talking about discrimination against students as against employees. Jesus, were you asleep during anti-discrimination class? I mean I know this is not your area of law, but know some basics.

    > Students who voluntarily elect

    Volunteering is not generally a defense to discrimination. Further, the students can claim pressure to attend, and the like. They could also claim that the students who stayed for these activities received an advantage or benefit. And voluntary or not, if the teacher said anything inappropriate during that session, that could spell trouble too. And then it turns into a battle of eyewitness accounts.

    > Again, as long as the students were forewarned and could opt out — and the facts (so far) indicate this was so — then there’s no serious danger of a successful sexual harassment lawsuit

    Notice the weasel words… “successful sexual harassment lawsuit.” Only a fool of a lawyer confines his concern to successful suits. As one of my clients said when faced with a frivolous suit, “great, and how much is it going to cost me to prove I am right?” The best way to serve your client is to take every reasonable step to ensure they don’t get sued in the first place.

    The rational approach is to weight the benefits of allowing this professor to behave like this v. the potential risks. I see so little potential benefits from an actual live sex show and so many dangers, I think Northwestern is insane to let it go on, unless they want to challenge these kinds of laws and interpretations based on constitutional principles. And kudos if they do. But to tell them they don’t have anything to worry about legally, is either stupid or dishonest.

    Which is it, Forrest?

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  22. Volunteering is not generally a defense to discrimination.

    Consent is a defense to sexual harassment suits, which you claimed were a genuine threat (#6)

    Your problem is that you are conflating two different areas of law: sexual harassment and Title IX discrimination.

    The best way to serve your client is to take every reasonable step to ensure they don’t get sued in the first place.

    Of course, but you can’t ensure yourself against frivolous lawsuits, because — being frivolous — they can come out of nowhere no matter how careful you are.

    A student who (a) signs up for a course on human sexuality; (b) voluntarily decides to attend a non-mandatory lecture on “fetishes and kinks”, and (c) is forewarned many times that the aforementioned lecture will be “graphic” has no basis for a sexual harassment lawsuit. And filing one would be frivolous.

    Further, the students can claim pressure to attend, and the like

    Have you even read your link? 80% of the class didn’t attend the controversial lecture. WHAT pressure?

    They could also claim that the students who stayed for these activities received an advantage or benefit.

    Well, students who attend non-mandatory lectures and engage in other extra-credit stuff typically do receive an advantage or benefit. But that’s not actionable against the school.

    And voluntary or not, if the teacher said anything inappropriate during that session, that could spell trouble too.

    Right, and if the teacher pulled out a gun and threatened the students, that could be trouble for Northwestern, too.

    The problem is that you are adding allegations out of thin blue air now.

    Kman (5576bf)

  23. Wow. Kman never ever stops. Hey, Kman, I’d like to give your blog some of the scrutiny you give this one. Are you willing to link your blog, or are you a hypocritical coward?

    Dustin (75f8e1)

  24. What I read elsewhere stated that the woman’s “fetish” included being watched by a group of people. If this is true, then the woman being observed was “using” the audience for her own gratification. If the audience was not informed of the nature of the event in a way that gave adequate opportunity to opt out, one could argue that it was a form of sexual assault.

    A doctor who rushes a patient into a decision by saying, “I’m going to go ahead and give you this injection, just sign here while I get set up” is not giving informed consent. I think a teacher who says, “We’re going to have a demonstration…” as the woman takes her pants off is doing a similar thing.

    There are, contrary to the opinion of some, college students who would find this very shocking, but whether they would have been in this class to begin with is a good question.

    And I am not going to dialogue with the one making comments who should be ignored.

    MD (from UW-Madison) in Philly (3d3f72)

  25. And I am not going to dialogue with the one making comments who should be ignored.

    Why you gotta call me out like that, man?

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  26. You, know the Python folks never anticipated the likes of Kman, who don’t see anything wrong with
    such a situation

    narciso (bf58f6)

  27. I think a teacher who says, “We’re going to have a demonstration…” as the woman takes her pants off is doing a similar thing.

    I agree with this. My sense (from the news stories) was that this was not the case. Apparently, the live sex demonstration was not pre-planned. But before it occurred, students were forewarned….

    Faith Kroll, the woman who stripped, was laying down on a towel when she was penetrated. When she arrived, she thought she just would be answering students’ questions and showing off sex toys they brought, including whips, paddles and a clown wig.

    An “absurd, clinical” video and subsequent discussion about various aspects of female orgasm led Faith and her partner Jim Marcus, 45, to prove to the class that female orgasm is real.

    Faith said she was not coerced in any way and students were repeatedly warned it was going to get graphic.

    I’m assuming this means there was an opportunity for students to leave. Perhaps I shouldn’t be making that, but that’s my reading.

    Kman (5576bf)

  28. Kman, are you willing to put yourself up to any scrutiny at all? Where’s your blog? You spend at least 40 hours a week criticizing Aaron’s blogging, and it seems you’ve done so for 9 years, but you’re hiding your blog from people here while you complain that this blog doesn’t welcome different points of view. Are you willing to put your principle of welcoming dissenting views into practice? Let me put your blog to scrutiny. Stop hiding.

    Dustin (75f8e1)

  29. Forrest/Kman

    > Your problem is that you are conflating two different areas of law: sexual harassment and Title IX discrimination.

    Wow, you just keep exposing yourself as dumber and dumber. Where do you think sexual harassment law comes from? It comes from the discrimination laws themselves. There is no separate statute regulating sexual harassment. It is read into the law as implied when they say that discrimination is banned.

    > Of course, but you can’t ensure yourself against frivolous lawsuits

    This isn’t coming from nowhere. Its entirely predictable. The guy is entering into a legal minefield. First, he has to be very careful not to even give the mistaken impression that he is coercing or even inducing the students to participate. Second, he has to be very careful never to make even an inappropriate joke during this. Anyone who deals in the real world will know how often clients cannot navigate that minefield.

    > is forewarned many times

    Except that didn’t happen, proving you didn’t read the story.

    > Have you even read your link?

    Have you ever read a case on the subject? Apparently not.

    > But that’s not actionable against the school.

    Lol, you think the teacher could reward the students for attending and it doesn’t transform it into improper pressure?

    > Right, and if the teacher pulled out a gun

    The difference being is that it is easy to avoid the conduct you imagine. But it is hard to avoid the other. Seriously, your advice would get your client sued. But then again you only work in the litigation department these days. I suppose you don’t think much about how to avoid being sued in the first place. Or think very much about anything.

    > The problem is that you are adding allegations out of thin blue air now.

    Lol, in which you confuse hypotheticals with inventing facts.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  30. You spend at least 40 hours a week criticizing Aaron’s blogging….

    Dustin, let me clue you in on something.

    Read my first comment.

    He didn’t have any problem with it morally; neither did I.

    He questioned its educational value; so did I (although I think I’ve since opened myself up to the possibility since my first comment).

    The only thing we disagree on is the potential liability that the university faces, and Aaron is making a big deal out of that difference, not me.

    Kman (5576bf)

  31. Gentle people–If I seem a little tetchy and unusually reluctant to play it is because this story well and truly pi$$es me off. (holder of an advanced degree from that “illustrious” institution, albeit more than a few years ago) Having that on a resume used to suggest that there had been some level of serious academic rigor expended to get it. I cannot wait until the next fundraising letter or phone call arrives from them seeking my help in keeping alive for yet a new generation the opportunity, the extraordinary scholarship and the high academic standards alumni all appreciated and benefitted from. (That is a pretty close paraphrase of their last fundraiser plea.) Yeah, I’m looking forward to that conversation.

    elissa (6bf660)

  32. This conversation has gotten very silly, and now # 43,the larch
    http://timeswampland.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/vinson-stay.pdf

    narciso (bf58f6)

  33. Kman, I see you have pretended to answer my comment by talking about something completely unrelated to my comment. This is one of your silly tactics that people find annoying.

    You have repeatedly

    1) complained that this blog doesn’t tolerate dissenting views and is an echo chamber

    2) boasted that you are here to scrutinize Aaron and show his dishonesty

    Are you willing to welcome me to your blog to provide a dissenting and critical opinion? Are you a lying about your valuing such a thing?

    What is the URL to your blog?

    Dustin (75f8e1)

  34. One good thing about growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1960s free love era: I got to see all that stuff, and I didn’t have to pay one dime in tuition.

    Dave Surls (6a2c64)

  35. Bring back memories of Winona Ryder in Heathers, The Daily Northwestern has a few articles regarding the session:

    “The optional presentation last Monday, attended by about 120 students, featured a naked non-student woman being repeatedly sexually stimulated to the point of orgasm by the sex toy, referred to as a “f*cksaw.” The device is essentially a motorized phallus.”

    daleyrocks (ae76ce)

  36. Clearly I missed that part of the movie…

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  37. Also, elissa, please understand that we only tease because we like you…

    Understand that I don’t think that you’re alone in suddenly being a bit ashamed of something your alma mater has done after your graduation.

    So…

    What WAS the nature of this research you had previously conducted? *runs and hides behind daley*

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  38. Kman

    yes, i am making a big deal of it, because as usual you are proving incompetant in your chosen profession.

    The correct answer is “you are running a very serious risk of being sued for sexual harassment, and yes, even losing, that is not ordinarily justified by the value of the presentation. But if in the name of academic freedom you want to go to the mat on this, kudos to you. But rather than push you in a direction you might not want to go, I want you to make that decision with open eyes.”

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  39. AW:

    There is no separate statute regulating sexual harassment.

    WTF??? There are lots of laws regulating (i.e. prohibiting) sexual harassment. They vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but they are out there. And not all of them relating to discrimination.

    Discrimination (on the basis of sex) is one form of sexual harassment. But not all sexual harassment involves discrimination. I think that’s where you are confused.

    Now, if you want to make an Title IX argument that having this “live sex demonstration” discriminates against women, or discriminates against men, that’s fine. But you’re going to have to flush it out more. Which sex did it discriminate against?

    The guy is entering into a legal minefield. First, he has to be very careful not to even give the mistaken impression that he is coercing or even inducing the students to participate.

    And if 4 out of 5 students didn’t participate, then I would think he’s in the clear as far as coercion goes.

    Second, he has to be very careful never to make even an inappropriate joke during this.

    Well, duh. That holds true for every day of his class, not just this lecture. In fact, it holds true for the math professor’s classes as well. Or the biology professor.

    Lol, you think the teacher could reward the students for attending and it doesn’t transform it into improper pressure?

    Again, AW, you’re just inventing suppositions and situations that could apply to ANY lecture in ANY class.

    Yes, the professor here COULD reward students for attending a non-mandatory lecture and yes, it (theoretically) could amount to “inmproper pressure”. But ANY professor could with regard to any extra-curricular lecture or outside reading or whatever. There’s nothing inherent about this teacher or this situation which makes it more likely that the professor will act badly.

    Kman (5576bf)

  40. Scott – I believe Winona’s line was “F*ck me gently with a chainsaw.”

    daleyrocks (ae76ce)

  41. So it is truly an example of life imitating art.

    daleyrocks (ae76ce)

  42. “What WAS the nature of this research you had previously conducted? *runs and hides behind daley*”

    Scott – Don’t look at me. I practically live on campus. Unfortunately I was out of town on 2/21.

    Plus I gave elissa an immediate out and everybody knows I’m a misogynistic, knuckle-dragging, life-long, concerned conservative most of the time.

    Sorry if I caused any offense.

    daleyrocks (ae76ce)

  43. daley– thanks for posting the Daily Northwestern link. My absolute fav part is one of the comments:

    Yeah I’d be pissed too if I paid $200k for NU to teach this to my daughter when I could have just paid $80k for her to learn it in a U of I frat house basement.

    Oskee Wow Wow!

    elissa (6bf660)

  44. Dustin:

    You have repeatedly

    1) complained that this blog doesn’t tolerate dissenting views and is an echo chamber

    2) boasted that you are here to scrutinize Aaron and show his dishonesty

    Your first statement is a lie. From what I know/understand of Patterico, he tolerates dissenting views (and the fact that I am commenting right now proves it). I don’t get the sense that he wants his blog to become an echo chamber, and I give him props for that.

    That said, and out of respect for Mr. P, I don’t want to detract from a lively blog that has the potential to offer constructive disagreements and honest debate. I think I have been remiss in that lately by getting sidelined (baited?) into personality issues, and that’s not fair to others.

    That’s why I’m going to ignore you, unless and until you choose to comment about something other than me (if you can).

    Kman (5576bf)

  45. Kman, no, I’m not lying. You have repeatedly complained that criticisms of your comments mean that this blog only welcomes a similar POV. I’m shocked you’re even denying it.

    What’s the URL to your blog? Why don’t you welcome my dissenting voice there?

    I’m not surprised you want to ignore me. I’m not Aaron, so you’re not creepily stalking me and probably think I’m distracting you from stalking Aaron some more. But I think I make a very good point about you. You are a total hypocrite. You say we should welcome your scrutiny, but then do all you can to avoid scrutiny.

    Dustin (75f8e1)

  46. According to my alumni newsletter, there is no truth to the rumor that the University of Chicago plans to top Northwestern by offering a similar demonstration using Nobel laureates.

    Y-not (45d6ad)


  47. Why is this so difficult for you people to understand? Man, the echo chamber gets really unruly if someone goes off-script.

    Comment by Kman

    Proof that I’m not lying, and that Kman is lying.

    I could post many more links just like that one.

    Dustin (75f8e1)

  48. You have repeatedly complained that criticisms of your comments mean that this blog only welcomes a similar POV.

    Well, Dustin…. there’s the blog policy, and the blog commenters. :-)

    Kman (5576bf)

  49. Kman, you called me a liar for a point I easily proved. Are you going to apologize?

    Are you going to allow anyone here to scrutinize your blog, or is it an echo chamber? You have been caught lying about Aaron’s posts, or the contents of links, or your summary of cases, and justify all that because you say you value the idea of dissent.

    Do you? Let me know where your blog is, if you’re honestly interested in dissent.

    Dustin (75f8e1)

  50. BTW, I really do not know where his blog is. Aaron has related a few of his posts that I am very interested in reading Kman’s treatment of, but all I have to go on is Aaron’s summary (which is probably extremely reliable, given how Aaron has withstood Kman’s full-time stalking frenzy so well).

    Dustin (75f8e1)

  51. Oskee Wow Wow!

    elissa – Heh! Have not heard that phrase in a looooong time.

    daleyrocks (ae76ce)

  52. Kman

    > There are lots of laws regulating (i.e. prohibiting) sexual harassment

    There is no federal statute on the subject. And if there is any state statute, I’ve never seen it.

    And certainly when we are talking about title ix, harassment is not a separate issue, moron.

    > And if 4 out of 5 students didn’t participate,

    It only takes one to file a suit, slowpoke.

    > Well, duh. That holds true for every day of his class, not just this lecture.

    Except the danger is greatly heightened, slowpoke, when someone is demonstrating the existence of the female orgasm live on stage, slowpoke. Seriously, are you unable to discern that some situations create greater dangers than others?

    > Again, AW, you’re just inventing suppositions

    No, you yourself said they were rewarded. Or are you forgetting about what was said?

    > Yes, the professor here COULD reward students for attending a non-mandatory lecture and yes, it (theoretically) could amount to “inmproper pressure”. But ANY professor could with regard to any extra-curricular lecture or outside reading or whatever

    The problem being that this isn’t extra credit for reading an extra book on horticulture. This is a charged minefield of potential sexual harassment.

    > There’s nothing inherent about this teacher or thissituation which makes it more likely that the professor will act badly.

    Right, a woman getting a sex toy inserted inside her and having an orgasm live on stage… no danger there of sexual harrassment!

    > That said, and out of respect for Mr. P, I don’t want to detract from a lively blog that has the potential to offer constructive disagreements and honest debate.

    Was it constructive to criticize my posts without reading them? To criticize my critique of a court’s opinion, without reading the opinion or having the slightest comprehension of what it said? To make arguments that were already addressed in the post?

    I would love you to offer constructive disagreements and honest debate. But if you are honest and genuinely trying to be constructive, then you are a moron.

    And honestly, you have said things so dumb, I have to think you are a moron regardless. But I also think you tell stupid lies here on a regular basis.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  53. > And if 4 out of 5 students didn’t participate,

    It only takes one to file a suit, slowpoke.

    *Facepalm*

    The fact that 4 out of 5 didn’t participate in the non-mandatory lecture goes to the issue of its non-coerced, non-mandatoriness. It belies any (bogus) claim that there was some sort of “pressure” to attend. Obviously, if 80% of the class was able to give the demonstration a pass, the plaintiff claiming “sexual harassment” by being exposed to it against his/her will is going to have a tough time saying he/she was induced or coerced.

    And as for “it only takes one to file a suit”, well, that’s true of ANY lecture this guy gives in that class. Out of 600 students, any one of them could probable file a frivolous sexual harassment lawsuit on any given day.

    Except the danger is greatly heightened, slowpoke, when someone is demonstrating the existence of the female orgasm live on stage, slowpoke. Seriously, are you unable to discern that some situations create greater dangers than others?

    “Greatly” heightened? Really? In a class where they talk frankly in every lecture, view films, have open discussions, etc. about sexual issues, I would think it’s a constant “danger”, to the extent that it is a “danger” at all.

    What do you think they did in the regular lectures? Have prayer meetings, and discuss love, with the occasional references to “hoo-hahs” and “down there”?

    This was a class discussing sexual topics. It didn’t START becoming sexual when the guest speaker stripped her clothes off.

    Right, a woman getting a sex toy inserted inside her and having an orgasm live on stage… no danger there of sexual harrassment!

    Not if viewing it is totally voluntary. And there’s been no allegation from anyone there that this was forced or coerced. In fact, every shred of evidence indicates it was the opposite.

    Kman (5576bf)

  54. (holder of an advanced degree from that “illustrious” institution, albeit more than a few years ago)

    Same here. Before I used to be ashamed of the holocaust denier they keep on staff, named Arthur Butz believe it or not. Now I have to get Heathers on Netflix.

    carlitos (01d172)

  55. I did not know elissa was a fellow Illini. Hail to the Chief.

    JD (2da347)

  56. Kman

    > The fact that 4 out of 5 didn’t participate

    Success is only one indicator of group coercion and speaks nothing to individual coercion. For instance, he might have said something to an individual student outside of class and left her coerced. And it doesn’t speak to reward.

    > well, that’s true of ANY lecture

    Well, you keep pretending that one it is not one bit more likely to result in a suit.

    > “Greatly” heightened? Really?

    Yes, really. Unless the class as a whole is basically a daily porn viewing having a person masterbate in front of you is a little worse.

    > It didn’t START becoming sexual

    Notice how you minimize the facts. She played with herself and brought herself to an orgasm live on stage. And then passed the toys around. and you think that is exactly the same as an intellectual discussion of the subject of sexuality. You think a professor saying the word vagina, or talking about orgasm is the same as a woman belting out her pleasure live and in person. *rolls eyes*

    > Not if viewing it is totally voluntary.

    Again, voluntariness does not negate harassment. Meritor Savings, you moron. You really don’t know what you are talking about on this. Walk down to your employment law division in your firm, assuming there is one, show them this discussion, and say, “who do you think is right? Mr. Worthing or this Kman, guy?” You won’t like the answer.

    Oh, and ask them if they expect the answer to change in a school setting. Let me know if any of them actually call you stupid.

    By the way, would you care to cite what laws are directed at sexual harassment without it being a breed of discrimination? You seem to think they exist, but don’t mention any. Can you give me a citation?

    Of course if you watched shows like Ally McBeal, you would have thought that there were a separate set of statutes on sexual harrassment, but I have never heard of such a thing existing in the U.S. So can you cite even one law on the subject?

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  57. Clip from Heathers Not Winona’s line. Belongs to Heather No. 1. Sorry.

    daleyrocks (ae76ce)

  58. ==Hail to the Chief==

    You betcha!!

    elissa (6bf660)

  59. Using a reciprocating saw with an adult novelty attached to the end to illustrate that G-spot orgasms do actually exist just sounds like solid scientific research and good clean fun all around.

    Caution: These are trained professionals. Do not try this at home.

    Ouch!

    daleyrocks (ae76ce)

  60. Even though doctors, nurses, PA’s, NP’s, etc. routinely see people in degrees of undress and view body parts not normally seen in public, I have to think that if a demonstration like this occurred in a med school or nursing school setting there would be a lot of noise about it being inappropriate. That even if one “is not a prude”, the human body, the human person, and human sexuality should be discussed and taught in a “more dignified way”.

    And even if there was 100% informed consent by all observers and participants, if this event fed into a “fettish” by the woman, it still may be considered a bioethical violation. I don’t think wanting to be observed by a crowd while having sex (or a version thereof) is considered normative human behavior, and a professional is not freed from ethical considerations simply because a person “volunteers”.

    MD (from UW-Madison) in Philly (3d3f72)

  61. I was molested as a child and it affected my life for many years. Because of my faith I rarely even go to R rated movies. I was offended that Titanic (a really awful movie) showed Kate Winslet’s breasts in a film rated PG-13. I thought it was to much and should have been rated R. I told my wife that the swearing in “King’s Speech” didn’t move the film forward and if it had been left out there could have been a wider audience.

    With that in mind and my desire to the best I can and when in college get the best grade I could get, I would have felt pressured to attend even optional classes. For me this class would have fallen under sexual harassment. I would have felt that my grade would be detrimentally affected if I did not attend.

    For 11 years that I worked at Countrywide, I felt harassed by the gay guy and powerless to say anything about statements he made and his open statements that he thought it would be funny if I was on drugs. Even with the hostile environment I was told that I received an exceeds expectations on all but one review in which I received an exceptional which is above exceeds expectations. I believe I received these good reviews because of my work ethic and the quality of my work. I saved Countrywide over 35 million dollars and allowed them to make many millions because of what my programs allowed them to do. Yet despite the good reviews I still felt harassed and powerless.

    The Northwestern University professor should be under fire. It was a colossally bad idea and I believe from a layman’s point of view may have left the university open to sexual harassment suits.

    Tanny O'Haley (12193c)

  62. Update from the Land of Dildoes, (formerly Land of Lincoln). The University president is backpedaling. Very fast. Calling for an investigation.

    Now, be aware there are some winners here: the heavily studded performance artists got somewhere in the range of $500 and the students say they LOVED it! But apparently parents, alums, the Alumni Board of Regents and the Northwestern Board of Trustees – not so much. Heh.

    elissa (6bf660)

  63. Thanks for that Tanny.

    daleyrocks (ae76ce)

  64. jeez tanny i am sorry that happened to you, and i really appreciate you sharing your perspective.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  65. The Roe Conn radio show had some of the folks involved on this afternoon and here is a clip of them showing the device used in the class.

    WARNING! Video is explicit and may be NSFW. – It’s not demonstrated on anybody.

    daleyrocks (ae76ce)

  66. Statement by Northwestern’s president:

    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.

    Dana (9f3823)

  67. At the other end of the spectrum, my alma mater, Brigham Young University, just kicked its second-best player off the basketball team for having pre-marital sex. And we had a chance to go all the way this year! (Yeah, I see the pun.)

    There has to be a sane middle ground somewhere.

    norcal (b13c77)

  68. MD (from UW-Madison) in Philly — 3/3/2011 @ 10:35 am:

    Good points. Plus, isn’t a sexual fetish considered a mental disorder? If that’s correct, it seems to me that Northwestern isn’t helping this woman by indulging, promoting and/or legitimizing her fetish.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  69. Norcal – I admire their adherence to their principles. Having said that, there was no chance they were going all the way.

    JD (6e25b4)

  70. JD,

    That’s what people said about N.C. State in 1983!

    Principles are one thing; this is Puritanism. It’s hard being a BYU fan.

    norcal (b13c77)

  71. My college team would be better off concentrating on sex because that’s the only way they will go all the way this year.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  72. Norcal – while I sympathize with you, it is not like this came as a surprise to the player.

    DRJ – UT is better than that.

    JD (d56362)

  73. I think it’s cool that BYU can so brilliantly illustrate the importance of the martyr complex to their philosophy. That and $2.90 will get them a tall latte, but I bet they feel great about it.

    carlitos (01d172)

  74. Regardless of what one thinks of BYU’s Honor Code, I’m glad to see an athlete receive the same consequences as the non-athletic violator would. Too frequently college athletes are protected from facing these.

    Dana (9f3823)

  75. Dana,

    Good point. At least the school is being consistent. I just wish the rule wasn’t there.

    norcal (b13c77)

  76. Elissa–you actually read those fundraising letters?

    kishnevi (68db61)

  77. I’m already pretty sick of this story but if anyone is curious, the Trib just updated their website with an article and a video interview with the professor in question.

    And DRJ–he’s from TEXAS!!!

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chibrknews-nu-professor-i-do-not-enjoy-being-attacked-20110303,0,575097.story

    elissa (6bf660)

  78. elissa, from your link:

    “When I knew it was going to be bad in some quarters,” he said, “was when I got a call from Fox News.”

    But of course. Heh.

    Dana (9f3823)

  79. Not only from Texas but he went to UT, Elissa. I love Texas but we have our share of village idiots unusual people.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  80. Kman keeps saying “Look at my first comment,” so let’s revisit that pearl of wisdom, shall we?

    “I don’t see anything terribly wrong with this”

    – ‘Nuff said, eh?

    Icy Texan (4f6850)

  81. Speaking of areas of life where Monty Python nailed it:
    Brave Senate Dems ran away.
    Bravely ran away away.
    When danger reared it’s ugly head,
    They bravely turned their tails and fled.
    Yes, brave Senate Dems turned about,
    And gallantly they chickened out.
    Bravely taking to their feet,
    They beat a very brave retreat.
    Bravest of the braaaave, Senate Dems!

    Icy Texan (4f6850)

  82. so that BYU student had to choose between going all the way in basketball, or with his girlfriend. um, yeah, can’t blame him for that one.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  83. BYU

    ISnt that where Jim McMahon graduated from?

    EricPWJohnson (967261)

  84. I believe it is, EPWJ.

    MD (from UW-Madison) in Philly (3d3f72)

  85. Ok, so the woman was paid for her performance, right? would that not qualify as engaging in prostitution?

    Rorschach (c5574d)

  86. It is a very good thing, show me your tits online [url=http://www.gravatar.com/showmeyourtito#1]show me your tits online[/url], >:[[[,

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