Northwestern University professor John Michael Bailey on Saturday issued an apology for "upsetting so many people" in the wake of a live sex demonstration but said he's not yet heard a thorough argument as to why it was improper.
"I apologize. As I have noted elsewhere, the demonstration was unplanned an occurred because I made a quick decision to allow it. I should not have done so. In the 18 years I have taught the course, nothing like the demonstration at issue has occurred, and I will allow nothing like it to happen again," he said in a written statement.
Students on Feb. 21 were invited to an optional, non-graded demonstration of a woman being stimulated with a motorized sex toy as part of a human sexuality class.
Bailey, a psychology professor, said the demonstration was relevant to the topic in class -- kinks and fetishes -- and relevant to the course. But he expressed frustration that the demonstration had garnered headlines "for more than two days" and brought negative attention to the university.
Still, Bailey noted that no laws were broken and was viewed by students of the university and by adults "legally capable of voting, enlisting in the military, and consuming pornography."
He charged those averse to the demonstration to explain their argument.
"Those who believe that there was, in fact, a serious problem have had considerable opportunity to explain why: in the numerous media stories on the controversy, or in their various correspondences with me. But they have failed to do so. Saying that the demonstration "crossed the line," "went too far," "was inappropriate," or "was troubling" convey disapproval but do not illuminate reasoning. If I were grading the argument I have seen against what occurred, most would earn an "F." Offense and anger are not arguments. But I remain open to hearing and reading good arguments."
Bailey said that college campuses, and Northwestern in particular, are places where "people are not only free, but encouraged, to debate our most contentious issues."