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Sex And The Univer--City: Northwestern Shocker

Updated on May 31, 2011
Northwestern University
Northwestern University | Source


February 21, 2011 turned out to be an exciting day for some of the students at Northwestern University. One of the students, twenty-one year old Justin Smith, is reported to have claimed it would be something he would remember for the rest of his life. Smith and twenty-two year old Nicholas Wilson are only two of the 600+ students enrolled in the human sexuality class taught by Professor John Michael Bailey. The topic under scrutiny February 21st? Kinky sex.

Bailey is considered a favorite among the students who claim he teaches one of the most popular classes offered at the institution. As was usual for the manner in which Bailey ended his sessions, he invited students to stay after class in order to hear from guest speakers Ken Melvoin-Berg, Jim Marcus, and Faith Kroll. Melvoin-Berg, who was retained to discuss bondage and sexual fetishes, is a co-owner of a group called Weird Chicago Tours. Jim and his fiance, Faith, an admitted exhibitionist, were also to help answer any questions the students might ask. In addition to the discussion, students were treated to a very explicit movie with contents catering to the topic of the day.

According to Smith and Wilson, Bailey warned students that the material was explicit and made open offers repeatedly for any students who so wished, to leave the class. Most students gathered their books and papers, heading off to their next class, leaving about a hundred students who stayed behind voluntarily.

The trouble began when the couple, Jim and Faith, who had been introduced as someone “turned on by the thought of sex acts in the nude in front of large groups of people", expressed concern that the movie contained misinformation. They requested to give a live demonstration with a mechanical device.

Justin Smith claims that Melvoin-Berg asked the students if they were ready for a sex show, at which time, Professor Bailey reminded students they were free to leave if they wished. Bailey is said to have then warned them that if they chose to stay, they couldn't complain later.

Moments later, Kroll was on the stage stretched out on a towel, minus all her clothing except her bra. Boyfriend Jim Marcus proceeded to use the mechanical device on her while more than a hundred students watched.

News of the demonstration spread through social networking sites, igniting a barrage of media reports which eventually came to the attention of Northwestern University President Morton Shapiro. Stating his disappointment over the event, he declared a sense of poor judgment on the part of Professor Bailey. Shapiro also alluded to the many emails to the university from parents and alumni, stating that many other members of the University's community were very disturbed by the incident.

Jim Marcus voiced his surprise over the outcry. He feels that the demonstration addressed an area of research needing attention. He also stated that the “squeamishness” over the topic is what has kept research curtailed.

Though human sexuality classes are offered at several other universities, no one has ever heard of a naked woman being brought to orgasm in front of a class of students. Professor Bailey admitted to a moment of concern as he watched the demonstration, worrying that repercussions may cause problems with the series of speakers he had taken years to build. Defending his decision, he wrote a message in the school newspaper, The Daily Northwestern.

“The demonstration, which included a woman who enjoyed providing a sexually explicit demonstration using a machine, surely counts as kinky, and hence is relevant," he wrote, referring to the class topic.


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    • Terri Meredith profile image

      Terri Meredith 7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      You and I are in agreement. The professor should never have allowed this to happen.

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 7 years ago from Houston TX

      Nice article,thanks for sharing but i must confess that its a pretty poor judgment.

    • Terri Meredith profile image

      Terri Meredith 7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Northwester ranked 12th last year as an academic institution, but it is one of the top 10 with the largest endowments. I'm not sure whether his course is total garbage as I don't know how he addresses other topics. I also have no problem with the idea that research needs to be done. It may help us to treat those who have a need to exhibit violence, and a number of other self punishing illnesses. However, I believe research should be left up to clinical doctors and researchers in a more appropriate setting. I can think of no reason for students to participate by observing.

    • profile image

      Husky1970 7 years ago

      Poor judgement? Professor Bailey should have been reprimanded for far more than "poor judgement." Sounds to me like his course is basically garbage. How much is tuition to Northwestern? Courses should certainly be of much more valuable content than lewdness and pornography. There are many websites that could provide students with an online education for a much reduced price from the cost of tuition at Northwestern. Despicable!