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A guest lecturer will argue that pornography corrupts the brain and erodes relationships during an appearance at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse on Thursday.

Parker Hymas

Hymas

Parker Hymas, communications manager for Fight the New Drug, an anti-porn organization out of Salt Lake City, will speak at 8 p.m. in the Bluffs Room of the Student Union.

Leaders from Cru, a Christ-based student group, said they have tried for years to book a speaker from Fight the New Drug, redoubling their efforts after a porn star’s controversial lecture at UW-L during the fall semester.

“We wanted our community on campus to just hear the facts about pornography and the true effects of it. A lot of people look at it for pleasure, and they’re not aware of what’s occurring in our brains,” said Cru President Hannah Bontrager, a junior psychology major at UW-L.

Nina Hartley

Hartley

Joe Gow

Gow

Bontrager said she was disappointed not because porn star and sex educator Nina Hartley spoke to students on Nov. 1, but because Chancellor Joe Gow kept promotion of the event to a minimum, fearing negative press coverage.

“Personally, I didn’t like how the chancellor hid it from us and didn’t advertise that she was coming,” she said. “It would have been interesting to engage with the other side, go to it and hear her out. I think open conversation is super important in all of this.”

Like Hartley, Hymas’ visit does not come without controversy.

Mainstream psychologists and neuroscientists have sought to discredit Fight the New Drug, saying it peddles pseudoscience.

In a 2016 op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune, a team of certified sex therapists expressed dismay that Fight the New Drug had been speaking in Utah’s public schools without the approval of school boards or parents.

They noted that “porn addiction,” which Fight the New Drug claims to combat, is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association and has not been proven to exist.

They also repeated speculation that Fight the New Drug is tied to or funded by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Unapproved curriculum, offered by untrained professionals, is happening right under our noses,” the team wrote. “For many kids growing up in Utah, this will be the only form of sex education they will receive.”

Leaders from Fight the New Drug say they cite peer-reviewed studies, and that they are committed to exposing porn’s “harmful effects using only science, facts and personal accounts.”

The group maintains that porn causes chemical changes in the brain, the same way drugs do, and that people who consume porn become less attracted to their real-life partners.

It has also denied any religious affiliation.

Gow, under fire after Hartley’s lecture, had attempted to book a speaker from Fight the New Drug before learning that Cru had similar plans.

In an email to students on Monday, the chancellor said he was aware of the organization’s reputation and hopeful that students would keep an open but critical mind.

“Hosting a speaker from the group represents another excellent opportunity to promote free speech on our campus,” he wrote. “As always, no one will be required to attend this event, and those who do go will be free to make up their own minds and ask critical questions about what they hear.”

Kyle Farris can be reached at (608) 791-8234 or kfarris@lacrossetribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Kyle_A_Farris.

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Kyle Farris covers education for the La Crosse Tribune. Reach him at (608) 791-8234 or kfarris@lacrossetribune.com.

(39) comments

Monteee

UW-La Crosse is supposed to be a university, a place of higher learning. It's sad how they are now hosting quacks and charlatans and religious crusaders.

t

Jobaba

It is Stormy.

johnnybragatti

zerokok must be a holyroller ?
who knew?

Cassandra2

Pseudoscience from the Mormons. Just what we need.

lutefisk

No... the fee did not come out of his pay. ..
..

DMoney

He offered to pay back the $5,000 fee. Not sure if it actually happened, but it was offered.

Jobaba

P-O-R-N.

DMoney

I'm torn on this subject. On one hand, thousands of public dollars were spent to bring a p**n star to a public university. I believe the university deducted the amount from Gows pay. But from the info given, he wasn't forthcoming about bringing in someone who would doubtlessly be controversial. On the other hand....who cares? Students need to develop perspective from all sides and angles. Just like they shouldn't freak out when a construction worker has a rebel flag on their truck, they also shouldn't freak out when a p*** actress visits to speak.

capedcrusader

How diplomatic of you. And then you just had to follow up with your true colors again.

DMoney

True colors are being strong enough to handle adversity. The alternative is to freak out, which is what they and faculty did. Safe spaces, counseling sessions, etc. That was pathetic.

capedcrusader

The alternative is to do nothing which in most cases when you have a problem solves nothing. Now that would be pathetic.

DMoney

The alternative would be to remind students and faculty that we live in a country where freedom of speech is protected and that some people use this right to convey unpopular messages. But, in life, you'll be faced with unpleasant situations daily, having a rebel flag visible on campus is a good opportunity to exercise some resilience, patience, and tolerance.

Cassandra2

That "rebel flag" represents treason and the losing side of our Civil War, and yet you support it. How unsurprising.

DMoney

I do?

Rick Czeczok

Don't you understand? It depends on your party, look how the group on here calls the mess in Virginia a misunderstanding and to old of news to be important. If it were a republican they would be asking for his head. They are the party of do as I say not as I do. These socialist are people who speak out of both sides of their mouth and expect people to respect them. AOC is the face of the democratic party and that should scare everyone.

DMoney

It many cases, "socialism is for the people, never the socialist".

Cassandra2

How many women have accused Trump of sexual assault? And yet republicans won't call for his resignation all the while they clamor for the Lt. Governor to resign. Hypocrisy much? I'm not making light of the accusations against the Lt. Governor, or dismissing the women who have come forward. But it's pretty clear that the republicans are using this for political gain.

DMoney

Hahaha, you, using hypocrisy as an argument. That's hilarious.

Cassandra2

Can't refute my facts, can you, D-bag?

allcav

Who really cares? It's UW-L, after all. Let them do in their enclave what they wish, so long as it stays there. Gow, and his predecessors, didn't participate in our community, so just ignore them.

Jobaba

Shhh! We mustn't speak of it. It is sinful. In fact, on the Trib's site we can't even spell it out.

Frangel45

What can't we spell out? Sex? Pornography? My god it happens all the time in corporate America executive offices, government offices and then of course they all deny that it's all a dream in some woman's imagination. How sick this country has become. Perhaps someday we can develop into a country of integrity... Education is the best remedy to the behind closed doors shenanigans of our public figures.

oldhomey

I try spell out p*rn on this string and hit the post comment button. It refuses it. I think the Tribune has decently defended Joe Gow, which is the most important thing, but it needs to revisit some of its word taboos for readers. I think it handled this story well, too. It let the religious students have their say, but it took pains to illustrate gently but unmistakably that the speaker they are bringing in is a religious fakir, living on and spreading dangerously ignorant zealotry.

PhysicsIsFun

I tried to say magna cvm laude in a comment and it was blocked because of profanity. It took me a while to figure out what the problem was. Crazy!

Rick Czeczok

His bosses didn't think so.

capedcrusader

And yet it has no problem with anyone saying shithole. Amazing the positive impact Trump has made in our country by just uttering a single word. Just don't call anyone a shithole troll on Facebook though. They tend to give out a month suspension for "bullying" I've heard.

Rick Czeczok

Wow don't you know? Your party of PC made this possible. Come on bags.......

Rick Czeczok

Gow's answer to his mess he made.

Frangel45

He didn't make a mess - he was right from the start. Why are so many afraid of reality? We are sexual beings - didn't you know that? You all want to stuff talk of being HUMAN into the victorian age once again. Understanding is a benefit - and if your religious beliefs cause your hatred - yikes, get a life.

Rick Czeczok

Sounds like you like to use the oldest profession on earth. Obviously you don't have a daughter.

oldhomey

Ricky, you live in a glass house. You should be tending to all the messes you have made on these comment boards. To begin with, you could tell us where you taught for 13 years and where you taught. Then you could honor your declaration you made last year that you were retiring from posting messages on these boards.

Rick Czeczok

You just don't like me catching your lies, like your Nam days. I told you specifically where I taught, you bone head. What a memory, get back on those meds old man.

DMoney

He DID make a mess of it. According to the letter issued by his bosses. Should have made a proposal and gotten approval.

capedcrusader

Like you asked earlier... who cares?

DMoney

Lots of people. I don't. Doesn't mean it's perfectly fine and that it's not messy.

oldhomey

Right, D. The UW president reprimanded Gow for allowing an adult film star come on the campus to talk about sexuality. He is the president of the UW system, a man of authority, so his opinion HAS to be the correct one, just like all billionaires are really, really smart and powerful, so we are powerless in their shadows. It should be the business of the head of the university system to vet guest speakers at every school in the system, because, heaven knows, the people he hires to run those schools aren't up to that terrible responsibility. I would venture to say that there was no mess made by her appearance on campus. It may have made a few small minds in the community to go "tut-tut", but, as you say, who cares? The mess created by the president of the UW system weighing in on it.

DMoney

The key point in the reprimand is that he had no notice of it, until receiving the backlash. That's either total disregard or total ignorance on Gow's part. You don't bring in a controversial figure, spending $5k of public money, without giving a heads up. That's a professional courtesy if nothing else. Even Gow admitted he made a mistake. A mess--a huge mess--was made of this. As evident of the fact that it's still being discussed and debated today. Should it be a mess? Debatable--I don't think so. But it definitely is one and Gow's to blame.

Rick Czeczok

Get off the pornography sites, you perv.

Cassandra2

Comrade, you know that pornography sites are the most popular genre on the internet. Just look at all the studies of how popular they are in the bible belt!

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