By Justin Tuttle
Yes to “An evening with Ron Jeremy.” No, this is not about promoting the pornography industry and trying to recruit individuals to become adult entertainers. This evening is about speaking with him about the relationship of freedom of expression, the law and pornography. This subject is not spoken about out loud and when we do, we mainly hear one side of the story: pornography is evil, immoral and wrong. Eastern is giving their students the opportunity to hear all sides of an issue: I applaud them. Nevertheless, Ron Jeremy is a great intellectual speaker and has spoken at many universities around the nation.
At these events he has participated in debates that have brought to light issues, such as ethics, responsibilities and ramifications of the adult entertainment industry. Individuals who disagree about Ron Jeremy speaking at Eastern should think about what America is. In America we have the freedom of expression and speech. This allows speech and expression that may be considered by individuals as immoral, and we allow expressions that promote hate. However, that is what makes America great. One individual can passionately proclaim at the top of his or her lungs something that you would advocate against for a lifetime.
Ron Jeremy is not the only individual that has spoken about a controversial issue on our campus. In the past there have been speakers from different organizations that about controversial issues. These speakers have been brought to the student body by Eastern Dialogues. The members of Eastern Dialogues are not administrators of EWU, but your peers spoke, they are your fellow students. If you have an opinion, good or bad with any of the choices that Dialogues make, you can decide on future speakers. You can join the Eastern Dialogues committee and participate in the decision making process. This committee’s mission statement includes “dedicated to bringing diverse, educational events to Eastern Washington University…offer a unique opportunity for students, faculty, staff and members of the community to explore various viewpoints, topics and ideas.”
If you are upset at the monetary compensation that will be given to Ron Jeremy for his performance, here is a question for you. Have you participated in any event on campus? In particular, did you attend the Morgan Spurlock presentation? Let me have you know, Mr. Spurlock demanded more money ($8,500) than Ron Jeremy ($6,500). Other than attending speakers, are you a part of any club or organization? They cost money. Here is another question for you. Should I be able to restrict your speech because I passionately detest it? If your answer is yes, why do you live and breathe in America?
You need to know every aspect or surface of someone or something before you can truly abhor it. If you despise Ron Jeremy and it makes your blood boil when you hear about the adult entertainment industry, I challenge you. I dare you. I want you to attend the event and open your mind to what he is speaking about. Do not just listen to the words that roll off his tongue, but think about them, ponder and hear what his position is. By the way, no one knows exactly what Ron Jeremy’s position, on any of the issues that will be brought up. However, there is one fundamental law in nature that I warn you about in my America and at my school. No matter what you believe, show respect!
Ron Jeremy will not be standing up there and lecturing. This is not like a regular class. Accompanying Jeremywill be an accomplished journalist who will ask him the questions and will ask intellectual questions that have been written by the individuals who attend.
By Leanne Petersen
On Wednesday, Feb. 16 EWU Dialogue Series will be bringing Ron Jeremy, a famous porn star, to speak to students.
Ron Jeremy, known to some as “The Hedgehog,” has appeared in over 1,000 pornography flicks and continues to work in the industry. He has had small parts in some mainstream films, but is most well known for his porn career. Ron Jeremy is a well-educated man who has a master’s degree from Queen’s College. Before starting his porn career he taught special education in New York. Some argue that his experience in the porn industry could bring a lot to the students and staff of EWU.
To say he is a controversial speaker is to put it lightly. A big part of the controversy stems from the amount of money he will receive for speaking at EWU. For his appearance, EWU will pay Jeremy anywhere from 6,500 to 10,000 plus his travel expenses. That’s a lot of money to bring a porn star to campus.
Think what else that money could be used for. It could be a scholarship for a few students who may not otherwise be able to afford to go to school. It could buy some equipment for a sports team or music program. Ten thousand dollars could buy textbooks for approximately forty students.
I’m not against Ron Jeremy himself. I don’t know him and don’t want to rush to judgement against his character because of the career he’s chosen. However, I am against the amount of students’ money that will be paid to bring him here.
Students should be given more of a voice in who the university pays to speak to students. After all, we are the consumers here, and we need to stand up and let our voices be heard.
Eastern is wasting our money to pay a porn star to come to campus. It is unfair to spend university money on someone many of the students would not want appearing here, and won’t attend the presentation anyway.
Perhaps I will be surprised on Feb. 16 and find out that there was a large audience and students enjoyed his presentation. I almost hope it turns out that way so I’m not disgusted with the waste of money.
I couldn’t just stand by and not say anything on the issue. I know of many people who are against his appearance and I am one of those students who will not be attending his presentation.