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NU Cancels Notorious Sex Toy Course

The decision came after a controversial live "f-cksaw" demonstration this past spring.

There will be no more sex toys at Northwestern -- or at least not during class.

The controversial human sexuality course that hosted an after-hours live sex toy demonstration on a woman who was not a student using a modified Black and Decker "f-cksaw" has been canceled, according to university officials.

"Courses in human sexuality are offered in a variety of academic departments in other universities, and Northwestern is reviewing how such a course best fits into the University's curriculum," said Alan K. Cubbage, vice president for university relations at NU in a press statement.

"The decision was made higher up than me at the central administration level," NU psychology chair Dan McAdams told Chicago Breaking News.

Students who attended the class told Evanston Patch that they were told what to expect during the sex toy demonstration, and that they were not penalized if they did not attend the session.

"I didn't find it to be particularly educational, but I didn't find it to be offensive either," said one senior student who was at the demonstration but declined to be identified because she is applying to graduate school and does not want her name connected with the incident. "As I told my mom, this experience has officially rounded out my liberal arts education."

"Honestly, unless you decided to move to the front you couldn't see that much because her boyfriend was kneeling over her. I could hear her and that was enough for me," she said.

After the session, Professor J. Michael Bailey , saying he couldn't come up with a reason why students should not have the opportunity to see it.

Bailey will remain at the school, but will have "other teaching assignments," according to Cubbage.

NU President Morton Schapiro, however, felt differently and condemned the incident, promising a full investigation into the course.

Scott May 10, 2011 at 01:13 PM
Irresponsible and misleading headline. You are better than that.
Jessica Rudis (Editor) May 10, 2011 at 02:53 PM
Scott, The sex saw was a main reason why the course was canceled and how my readers know the incident best, so I don't believe it is misleading. The article clearly states that the saw incident was after class hours, but it was indeed part of the course. (That said, I believe the headline will be changed soon anyway to run on AOL's page, so this will be gone!)
Jim Osburn May 10, 2011 at 04:36 PM
Oh, darn! I was hoping to audit the course this summer...maybe they could have moved it outdoors now that the weather has improved....with the lighthouse in the background....oh, never mind, will just have to buy my beach tokens.
Clif Brown May 10, 2011 at 04:45 PM
I would love to have a survey done of the students taking the course to find out how many are attending NU on mom and dad's money and how many were paying their own way. I believe it costs about $25,000 a year now to attend NU. A good percentage attend with the help of loans and scholarships. The outrage of this course is not the silly subject matter but the fact that people would squander so much money to take it when so many other courses are available.
Chuck May 10, 2011 at 07:09 PM
I've nits to pick (and areas of agreement) with both Scott and Ms. Rudis. Rather than being "irresponsible" or "misleading," the headline is chiefly unclear. "Sex 'saw' class" ?? I've read several articles on the story, but I'd never before known a "f*** saw" was involved. "Sex class" suffices, and is clear. From the get-go, clarity-wise, it's a weak headline that perhaps reached too far. Additionally: Including the felicitous noun "f*** saw" in this news story is, arguably, tasteless (I'm hardly a prude, but that detail might strike sensible people as being crude) and gratuitous. (Kind of in the same way highlighting breasts and scanty skirts at Tilted Kilt seems gratuitous and out of place for Evanston ... so too in the pages of Patch?) ... But it's not a big deal really! Live and learn. You are both better than that.
Scott May 10, 2011 at 08:47 PM
The fact is that this was not a "Sex Toy Course".
chicago lampoon May 10, 2011 at 11:42 PM
In popular parlance everybody knew it as the sex toy course, that is simply a reality. My only question about the cancellation is what impact will this have on the Skil tools NU sponsorship arrangement: http://chicagolampoon.blogspot.com/2011/03/skil-power-tools-vies-for-official.html
Scott May 11, 2011 at 03:03 AM
Just because you knew it as the sex toy course does not make it a reality and does not signify how "everybody" else knew it. The course covered a range of human sexuality topics which is a common course at most liberal arts colleges. I will concede that headlines like the one belonging to this article help to reinforce this untruth and ignorance among readers. Patch seems intent on including the words Sex Toy in the headline, which I have no problem with as long as it is accurate. Here it is just Yellow Journalism. Which is shame because normally stories here (Ms. Rudis' in particular) are presented in a well-researched and fair manner.
Jessica Rudis (Editor) May 11, 2011 at 03:51 AM
Scott, I both agree and disagree with what you're saying. On one hand, yes, of course it's fairly sensationalized -- a headline is meant to draw in readers, and I'll absolutely admit the word "sex" is a good way to do that. However, I believe in this case it was also necessary so readers would know right off the bat which course this is about. I could have said "human sexuality" course in the headline, though that is more vague and since most readers know the course as the one where there was a sex saw demonstration rather than a general human sexuality course, that detail helps set it apart. With only few words allowed in a headline, I decided to go for something that would immediately make it clear and let readers learn more about the details of the course in the story. I was cautious to include a full explanation of the circumstances regarding the f*cksaw in the article, so readers are reminded that there was more to the course, as you kindly noted.
Leia Wake May 12, 2011 at 01:30 PM
What was and is misleading is the continuing use of the word "toy." The hardware demonstrated was not a toy. It is a modified power tool most often used for, say, ripping out drywall. The repeated use of "sex toy" in articles gave readers the impression that this was some sort of small battery-operated vibrator rather than a reciprocating saw like a contractor would use. The woman who demonstrated it has written extensively on it and there are graphic descriptions elsewhere of its use and results. I will not link; the curious or prurient can find it on their own. "Toy" is wildly inaccurate and the fact that people like "Scott" are just now getting it shows how misinformative some of the reporting, or at least the headlining, has been, altho I can understand why references to a "f***s**" should probably not appear in a publication of general circulation. Patch and Ms. Rudis have actually been more detailed than many other accounts, once you got past the headlines. The voltage of what was actually employed in Prof. Bailey's class doesn't really change the right or wrong of his judgment, but it adds some context as to what students experienced and to community reactions.

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