Students react to Ron Jeremy's Feb. 19 debate at CMU

As expected, students on campus have conveyed mixed reactions about the upcoming "Great Porn Debate" between porn star Ron Jeremy and anti-porn pastor Craig Gross.

Scheduled for Feb. 19, the Great Porn Debate is sponsored by Central Michigan University's Program Board and will be free and open to the public. The event, being held at Plachta Auditorium, is one of several programs Program Board will host in February on sexual awareness.

The event has stirred up controversy from people throughout campus.

Rachel McDaniel, president of Voices For Planned Parenthood, said the discussion is worth having but does not agree with how the discussion will be pursued.

"I think it could be quite an interesting and intellectual conversation if it involved anyone worth hearing from," said McDaniel, an Allegan senior. "I'm tired of hearing the same old arguments focused on religion and male porn stars. 'Yes or no' debates only get so far, and they barely scratch the surface of the topic, especially when it concerns such a complex topic as pornography."

McDaniel said she thinks the conversation suffers from an over-emphasis on the male perspective of pornography.

"While I’m not shocked, valuable perspectives are being excluded from this discussion. There are women who participate in pornography as actresses, producers, directors and women who speak out against it for a variety of reasons," McDaniel said. "I'm tired of the male consumer being the focus of pornography, as well as dictating the discourse around it."

Troy Junior Hayley McInerney also found the debate upsetting and said Ron Jeremy was not an appropriate individual for CMU to bring in.
"If Central wanted to shed light on issues like pornography addiction or empowering women, they could have just as easily hired a psychiatrist or countless inspiring women," McInerney  said. "As an academic university, I don't think they should allow anyone who insinuates that selling sex is an acceptable way to make a living."
Malena Lopez, a 2011 CMU alumni, said she is looking forward to attending the event.

"I think that people on both sides of the argument will benefit from listening to these two speakers," Lopez said. "I definitely applaud CMU Program Board for bringing a fascinating event such as this one to campus."

Lopez said she thinks the conversation is incredibly valuable because of how seldom pornography is discussed.

"Porn isn't something that is really talked about in everyday conversations, so I'm really excited for this," Lopez said. "How often do we actually get to talk about porn in an open forum?"

As previously reported by Central Michigan Life, Program Board is promoting Jeremy's visit as a way to shed light on a controversial issue.

“Jeremy has a different opinion. He has such an interesting track record; he’s going to champion ideas that are different,” Program Board Vice President Mark Fairbrother said. “We want to bring issues like this into the light.”

The debate is not the only sex-themed event Program Board has planned for February.

The Condom Casino Tour is set to arrive on campus on Feb. 26. Students will be able to play sex-themed casino games to win condoms.


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