Thursday night will become a battleground of sorts at The University of Tennessee when Susan Cole, a prominent voice in the anti-pornography movement, squares off against Ron Jeremy, one of the porn industry's most prolific stars.
"It is certainly a timely issue to be addressed, especially with the recent concerns of sexually-transmitted diseases and use of protection in pornographic films," Owen Comstock, Issues Committee chairman, said. "Furthermore, pornography has long been debated as a part of freedom of speech and expression under the First Amendment."
Cole and Jeremy will participate in "The Great Pornography Debate" hosted by the Issues Committee.
"We expect both speakers to address several issues in their arguments," Comstock, said. "Students will have the opportunity to shape the question-and-answer session and have specific issues addressed."
Susan Cole, senior entertainment and books editor for NOW Magazine, a top Canadian news and entertainment weekly, is the author of "Power Surge: Sex, Violence and Pornography," "Pornography and the Sex Crisis" and many articles and essays that address violence against women. She holds a bachelor's degree from Harvard University and has been involved in the anti-pornography movement since the 1970s.
Ron Jeremy Hyatt was a special education teacher before entering the porn industry in the late 1970s. Since then, he has appeared in more than 1,600 films and directed more than 100 others. He is considered one of the most famous and successful stars the porn industry has produced.
He has consulted on mainstream films such as "Boogie Nights" and "9 1/2 Weeks" and has appeared in dozens of others. A documentary about his life and career was released in 2001 called "Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy." He holds a bachelor's degree in theatre arts and a master's degree in education from Queen's College.
The debate will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Cox Auditorium of the Alumni Memorial Building. Seating capacity is 900, and the Issues Committee said it expects the event to reach full capacity. Since there will be no overflow room, students are encouraged to arrive early. The event is open to the public, and there is no charge for admission.
"I'm interested to see how Ron Jeremy can justify pornography and how Susan Cole retorts," Josh Smith, freshman in business, said. "I think it's relevant because many college students are involved in (sexual) activity."
The Issues Committee hosts three to five events per semester in an attempt to bring relevant and informative programming to campus, Comstock said. Earlier in the month, the Issues Committee brought together Fred Barnes of Fox News and CNN Crossfire co-host Paul Begala in a presidential election debate.