A course on human sexuality at Northwestern University will not be offered next semester, after a controversy exploded around an after-class demonstration performed in March.
Professor J. Michael Bailey's course has been dropped from the psychology department's list of offerings, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. And that order came from the top.
“I did not make the decision,” department chairman Dan McAdams told the paper, saying that it came from "either the president or the provost." Typically administrators don't have say on department course lists, but McAdams described the sexuality course as a "pretty extraordinary case."
In February, the course and the university received national scrutiny after a live sex-toy demonstration was held after one session of the course. The event was not a mandatory class meeting; rather, it was optional, and students were told what the display would consist of before choosing to attend.
At the demo, a naked woman took the stage, and was repeatedly sexually stimulated by a motorized device called a "fucksaw." Before long, local and then national news sources were reporting on the event, with reactions ranging from who-cares open-mindedness to full-on outrage.
In an extreme case, a church in Tennessee refused to host a group of Northwestern volunteers coming for a service project after seeing a syndicated AP article in the local paper about the demonstration. "I just felt the Lord wanted me to see that," said Pastor Clifton Roth, who decided to turn the students away.
Though his sexuality course will not be on offer next term, Professor Bailey will continue teaching classes at the university, including a 300-level Special Topics course entitled "Dangerous Ideas," the Daily Northwestern reports.