Streakers steal the show at CUP’s pornography debate

Streakers steal the show at CUP’s pornography debate

During a debate between pornography actor Ron Jeremy and the founder of an anti-pornography church before spring break, two students spiced up the action by streaking naked across the front of Blackman Auditorium.

The debate was organized by the Council for University Programs (CUP), and pitted Jeremy against Craig Gross, founder of the XXX Church, which is anti-pornography. The debate was sold out, and CUP President Amanda Zoglio said almost 300 people were turned away.

Chad Cooper, co-founder of Northeastern’s improvisational comedy group, NU ‘ Improv’d, mediated the first-ever debate between Jeremy and Gross.

“No, I’m not Ron Jeremy,” Cooper announced upon first reaching the microphone. Giving background information on both parties, Cooper had trouble keeping a straight face while announcing that Jeremy has starred in over 1,800 adult films.

Gross, 30, has highlighted hair and a piercing in each ear. His platform is based on helping recovering sex addicts and spreading awareness of pornography and its correlation to divorce, child pornography and violence.

The debate ended up being more of a discussion preceded by 20-minute opening statements. Gross raised serious issues in his opening statement.

“Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce, and one-third of all those divorced said that internet porn and porn were problems in the marriage,” Gross said. “Why does porn carry all this guilt and shame if it’s such a great thing that helps feminism? That’s the thing, it doesn’t.”

Jeff Colvin, a sophomore business major, said Gross was convincing, but still didn’t change his stance on pornography.

“I thought Craig Gross had a lot of great points but he was outnumbered in supporters,” said Colvin, who shook Jeremy’s hand at an afterHOURS gathering after the event. “It was exciting to shake hands with a man who’s accomplished so much.”

Despite the seriousness of some of the issues, the decorum of the event was interrupted by the streaking students, who ran across the front of the auditorium chased by laughing NUPD officers. CUP released a statement about the streaking the following day.

“There was nothing we could have done to prevent those two individuals from doing what they did. CUP was prepared as we could have been, and NUPD was there, along with Blackman staff,” said Caitlin Lowell, CUP lectures chair. “We have had a lot of events in Blackman, but no amount of experience could have predicted that was going to happen.”

Jeremy said the streakers made his Northeastern experience unique.

“I enjoyed coming [to Northeastern] a lot, it’s one of the more Ivy League schools I’ve visited,” Jeremy told the News. “I know this school is edgy, but the pastor and I weren’t expecting streakers.”

Despite conflicting views on almost everything relating to pornography and sex, Gross and Jeremy were friendly, and talked to each other throughout the afterHOURS meet-and-greet. However, they never veered far from their respective stances.

“There was obviously something deeper that stayed with the kids that I said,” Gross said. “Most of the questions were directed toward me, and of course they all want his picture, he’s an icon with this generation, but I think he really just wants to be mainstream. Ron is a good guy, but he’s more excited talking about ‘The Surreal Life’ than any porn.”

While Jeremy received most of the requests for photos and autographs, including some women who wanted their breasts and undergarments signed, Gross was approached by several students who wanted to discuss some of the topics he addressed. CUP e-board members stayed in afterHOURS until every student who wanted an autograph or photo got one.

“Overall, we think the event went well, and hopefully those who attended left with a greater understanding of both sides of the issue,” Lowell said.

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