Program Board: Ron Jeremy event part of group's mission 'to bring diversity to campus'
Adult film actor Ron Jeremy will debate anti-porn pastor Craig Gross in Plachta Auditorium on Feb. 19 as a part of their nationwide “Great Porn Debate” tour.
The event, sponsored by Central Michigan University's Program Board, will be free and open to the public. The program is one of a variety of productions Program Board will sponsor in late February on sexual awareness.
Jeremy is ranked by Adult Video News, an adult industry trade journal, as the top porn star of all time. He has acted in more than 2,000 adult films and has directed 284 adult titles.
Gross is the founder of www.XXXchurch.com, a non-profit religious-based organization focused on helping individuals who struggle with pornography addiction. The group also reaches out to actors and directors, attending porn conventions nationwide.
Following the debate, students will be able to talk with them and ask for autographs.
Program Board Vice President Mark Fairbrother, a Shelby Township sophomore, said while the event is controversial, it appeals to all groups of people.
"Ron Jeremy has made a real impact on the adult industry and has been an important voice for sexual freedom," Fairbrother said. "(Gross) has been very influential on the other side of the argument. Whatever views you have, you'll have someone to champion."
Fairbrother said he sees the debate as an important opportunity for students to expand their views on the issue of pornography.
"Jeremy has a different opinion. He has such an interesting track record; he's going to champion ideas that are different," Fairbrother said. "We want to bring issues like this into the light."
This will be the second time Jeremy has debated on CMU's campus. His first visit, in 2006, was against anti-porn activist Michael Leahy. Program Board President Miranda Endres said the success of the past debate was a large reason why Program Board brought Jeremy back to campus.
"I don't think the program is a huge risk," the New Baltimore senior said. "He has already been to this university. The event was well-received by the university. It was well-received by the students."
Endres said Jeremy's reputation will attract a large crowd.
"I think a lot of students will come just to hear whatever the heck Ron Jeremy is going to say," Endres said. "...We were talking to a performer we invited to campus who had been to this event at another campus; he said it is the most packed he had ever seen the place."
The Condom Casino Tour will also come to campus Feb. 26, where students will be able to play sexually transmitted disease-themed casino games and win condoms for prizes.
Endres, who has been overseeing the development of the upcoming sexual awareness programs, said other programs are still in development.
Program Board adviser and director of Student Life Damon Brown said it is one of the goals in Program Board's mission statement to bring diversity to campus.
"Bringing a diversity of ideas is a part of that," Brown said.
Spring Program Board schedule
Program Board will also be bringing in comedian Roy Wood Jr. on Jan. 26 and hip hop artist Brandon Williams on Feb. 5.
Brown said the full spring calendar is still being deliberated on, and is not ready for release. He said events will include at least one concert and multiple celebrity talks, along with a complete revamping of Program Board's annual Gentle Friday event.
"There's a lot for students to get excited about this semester," Brown said. "I think students will be excited to see who we bring in this semester."
Fairbrother said that a release date for the full calendar is uncertain but will likely be released within the next two to three weeks.