Sex on Campus? No Way!
Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.
November 17, 1960, Vol. VI, No. 4
Sex on Campus?
By J.R. Goddard
"Campus sex" may not be for all students, but why not condone it for those sufficiently grown-up to know what they're doing?
That's the question biology professor Leo F. Koch (pronounced Cook) asked at the University of Illinois last spring. University President David D. Henry was a fast man with an answer. He promptly fired Koch for his "offensive and repugnant" views.
Koch and his battle for university reinstatement have since become a minor cause celebre. Presently operating out of the American Humanist Association offices at Sheridan Square, he's telling New Yorkers all about it in a fast round of church, campus, and TV appearances.
"All this began with an article in the Daily Illini criticizing heavy petting parties on campus," Dr. Koch explained. A short, brisk man of 44 who sports the academician's severe crew cut, he seemed far from the diabolical sexual anarchist some groups have accused him of being. "The article was courageous but ignorant of the real sexual problem. So I wrote a reply."
Koch's letter said in part: "...the events described are...symptoms of a serious social malaise...caused by the hypocritical and downright inhumane moral standards engendered by a Christian code...already decrepit in the days of Queen Victoria...With modern contraceptives and medical advice readily available...there is no valid reason why sexual intercourse should not be condoned among those sufficiently mature to engage in it without violating their own codes of morality or ethics."
It ends by saying: "A mutually satisfactory sexual experience would eliminate...many hours of frustrating petting and lead to much happier and longer-lasting marriages..."
"Academic freedom is very much involved in this," said Dr. Koch, who also heads a humanist-liberal group called the School of Living. "I spoke up because I felt i had to. I lost my job. I think it's a good example of what happens in universities. The majority of faculty members are badly suppressed. You can't step out of line, and that's a very bad situation."
Dr. Koch continued in the academic vein for awhile. "The fact that I'm a scientist threatens people even more," he went on in a soft but self-assured manner. "They don't want to understand the human implication of biological knowledge. Sex is only one example. Many religionists think it's their private, supernatural territory. Then the super-patriots - those who make a profession of calling others Communists - come along and attack too."
He produced an impressive pamphlet he said was being distributed widely in Chicago and other Midwestern cities. It called his stand an "exhortation to sexual promiscuity...and audacious attempt to subvert the religious and moral foundations of America."
"What I did was to suggest the university condone natural acts. I didn't say 'advocate,' but a lot of people took it that way."
[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.