NU Professor Apologizes For Sex Toy Demonstration

"I Will Allow Nothing Like It To Happen Again."

EVANSTON, Ill. (CBS) — The Northwestern University professor who allowed a live sex toy demonstration to take place in his classroom last month has apologized, although he maintains he sees “absolutely no harm” in what happened.

“I regret allowing the controversial after class demonstration,” Northwestern professor John Michael Bailey said in a statement posted on the university’s website on Saturday. “I regret the effect that this has had on Northwestern University’s reputation, and I regret upsetting so many people in this particular manner. I apologize.”


The demonstration was part of an optional after-class presentation on Feb. 21 in Bailey’s human sexuality class.

The students who attended ended up seeing a woman strip naked, lie down on a towel onstage, and allow her partner to use to use a motorized sex toy on her and bring her to orgasm.

Guest speaker Ken Melvoin-Berg had come for a discussion with the class and brought the woman and her fiancé with him to the presentation on “Networking for Kinky People.”

Along with a “variety” of other items, they brought a “sex saw,” Melvoin-Berg said. The device in question was described by the Daily Northwestern school newspaper as “essentially a motorized phallus.”

Before the demonstration, Bailey repeatedly warned students that it would be graphic and most of the nearly 600 students registered for his class had left before the demonstration. About 100 stayed to watch.

“The demonstration was unplanned and occurred because I made a quick decision to allow it. I should not have done so,” Bailey said. “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.”

Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro has launched an investigation into the incident, saying that he was “troubled and disappointed” by Bailey’s decision to allow it.

“I feel it represented extremely poor judgment on the part of our faculty member,” Schapiro said. “I simply do not believe this was appropriate, necessary or in keeping with Northwestern University’s academic mission.”

Schapiro said even though academic courses will often explore controversial topics, the sex demonstration crossed the line.

“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,” he said. “Many members of the Northwestern community are disturbed by what took place on our campus. So am I.”

Bailey originally defended his decision to allow the demonstration, after news about it became public on Wednesday and, despite his apology on Saturday, he maintained that he saw no harm in the demonstration.

“During a time of financial crisis, war, and global warming, this story has been a top news story for more than two days. That this is so reveals a stark difference of opinion between people like me, who see absolutely no moral harm in what happened, and those who believe that it was profoundly wrong,” Bailey said.

He also said that the demonstration was relevant to the topic of his course and that “although unusual, had no harmful effect on anyone.”

“Observers were Northwestern students legally capable of voting, enlisting in the military and consuming pornography, as well as making many other serious decisions that legal adults are allowed to make,” Bailey said.

He also took a shot at critics who have condemned his decision to allow the demonstration.

“Those who believe there was, in fact, a serious problem have had considerable opportunity to explain why. … 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,” Bailey said. “If I were grading the arguments I have seen against what occurred, most would earn an ‘F.’ Offense and anger are not arguments.”

–Todd Feurer, CBS Chicago web producer

  • Parent

    “Offense and anger are not arguments.” Really? I would bet this “professor” is completely politically correct when it comes to other sensitive social issues, unrelated to human sexuality.

    If the angry and offended people choose not to donate to the university as a result of this incident, he is directly responsible for that, if they are able to argue their point to his satisfaction or not.

    I think his apology is arrogant and condescending. I would expect a faculty member at Northwestern to do better than this.

  • James

    Argument: It is not the purpose or reason for existence of a university to produce live pornography. The tax payers agreed by our form of representative government to fund by taxes a university for the purpose of academic education. You used public funds (building, property) for something that should be financed by private enterprise. Pornography, while it may be educational is not academic education.

    Don’t forget we live in the jerry springer generation. If we have no logical argument we resort to calling you names and trying to scream more than you. Thus we “won” the argument.

  • Zarathrusta

    Where do I apply to Northwestern?

    • ShameonNWU

      Try to get your GED first.

  • ShameonNWU

    John Bailey’s apology sounds insincere. The study of Psychology is mostly common sense, something Bailey doesn’t show in his statement. Bailey claims he had mostly positive feedback after the class. It’s curious that the news media never said how many males stayed to watch and enjoyed it and how many females left. Bailey still maintains he doesn’t see any moral harm with his stunt. Really? Does Bailey have a wife? I doubt it. Does Bailey have any daughters? I doubt it. Would HE want HIS naked daughter assaulted on a stage with a sexual aid in front of an audience of fully clothed men? This is not in the name of academia, it’s simply a blatant sexual exploitation of women.
    The porn star wannabe is a disgrace to her own gender and her greasy, sexually inadequate partner has nothing to brag about.
    I believe Bailey had a considerable amount of time these last few days for the opportunity to apologize, I can only assume he’s been hiding out in a campus mens’ room thinking about it…, enjoying HIMself. I once considered NW a prestigious university, John Bailey has changed all that. I can’t help but think of all the future students going into that hall thinking…so this is where the kinky porn was done. Psycology is a kind of fill in class rather than major these days (no jobs) unless you want to end up like the pitiful professor. Save your insincere apologies for the fools, Bailey.

  • Clean Up Guy

    Sorry my ass, I’m the janitor that had to mop up the mess. Oh the odor!!!!

  • Fast Ed

    Teaching a new addiction to students, so they can be further distracted from being successful in life it just wrong.

    No need for a “human sexuality” class in the first place.

    Pedophiles in the faculty are the cause of this situation.

  • college grad

    I think that by the time a person starts college he/she has probably already had some encounter/s with sex, porn, etc… With our access to so many electronic gadgets, social networking, and the Internet (you tube) anyone interested in learning about how to use a sex toy can do that easily. I don’t think you need to go to Northwestern to see a woman being penetrated by a sex toy. I think that the professor is a disgrace and he needs to see a therapist to address his addiction to sex or his voyeurism. Now there is a topic to address in your class SEX ADDICTION and how to treat it! Go get help professor.

  • Sarah

    Monitor your being bias,or even maybe racist,.

  • Sarah

    Or maybe a obamanite yourself.

  • Sarah

    The professor is getting a free pass from the media just like the other obamanites do,they never do anything wrong .

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live