On Feb. 21 Professor J. Michael Bailey invited two performers to demonstrate female ejaculation for a small audience of students attending an optional series of lectures organized for his course on Human Sexuality at Northwestern University (see the original story here). For a brief period, the school’s administration, as represented by PR guy Al Cubabge, supported Bailey, but they quickly flip-flopped.
Bailey defended the demonstration, but ultimately apologized in a statement released two days ago. However, one detects a great deal of reluctance in his prose, and it seems like an apology given only out of pure necessity.
“I regret allowing the controversial after class demonstration on February 21st. 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,” Bailey writes in his introduction, as if he were repeating something someone told him to say.
In the apology, Bailey takes the opportunity to defend himself and his choice to include the demonstration in his optional series.
“It involved an act 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,” he states.
Bailey also aptly points out that, perhaps, too much is being made of the incident, considering all of the other things happening now, like global-warming, war, and the financial crisis. “That this [the public’s reaction] 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,” he writes in the statement.
In a rather reactionary response, Matt Barber, associate dean of Liberty University School of Law (a Christain school), said that “this pervert should have been immediately suspended while the investigation was undergoing…We have this professor admitting that he had done this, so at the very least [there] should have been an immediate suspension followed by his firing” (originally quoted in One News Now).
The administration’s response hasn’t been quite as harsh, and in an official statement posted on the front page of Northwestern’s website, the school president draws attention to some of the great fundraising and scholarship Northwestern is responsible for in attempt to show that the school deserves a different kind of attention.
In any case, I still think that this optional lecture sounds like it was pretty sweet, and I wish I had been there. I watched Annie Sprinkle’s The Sluts and Goddesses Video Workshop for a video art class, but that’s nothing like a live demonstration.
In a Fuck You kind of response to his detractors, Bailey writes in the apology “If I were grading the arguments I have seen against what occurred, most would earn an ‘F.’”