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Notre Dame Group Wants Campus Internet Service to Block Porn

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ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty

A group of students at the University of Notre Dame is demanding a filter that would block porn access on the campus internet service.

1,000 faculty, students, and staff at the University of Notre Dame are demanding a filter for the campus’ internet service that would effectively block access to pornography.

In an open letter that was published online, a group of students argued that allowing students on campus to access internet porn is a violation of the “social justice” principles that the school espouses.

As a university that champions social justice, human rights, equality and dignity, Notre Dame ought to block pornography using the technology available to us. Doing so represents both an attempt to eradicate pornography from the campus culture and, more broadly, a strong stance against sexual assault, sex trafficking and other human rights violations. We have come to expect our school to be a driving force for cultural change in our nation, and pornography is a cultural issue that needs changing.

The letter also addresses the number of Notre Dame students that watch pornography on the campus’ internet service. According to a survey conducted in 2013, over half of male Notre Dame students have watched porn on the campus network. Almost one-fifth of female students have also viewed pornography on the campus network.

Pornography does not come up often in casual conversation, but its effects are everywhere — even on the campus we call home. A survey conducted in 2013 showed that 63 percent of male Notre Dame students have viewed pornography on the university Wi-Fi network. National studies have demonstrated 64 percent of college men and 18 percent of college women spend time viewing online porn each week. In a given month, 86 percent of men interact with pornography.

The letter points out that the university already prohibits the viewing of pornography on the campus internet service. However, the rule is not enforced, likely due to the privacy invasions that would be required to identify violators.

In the face of the massive violation of human dignity perpetuated by pornography production and consumption, many organizations worldwide have taken the simple, positive step of internet filtering. Unfortunately, Notre Dame has yet to take this step. The Notre Dame Internet Compliance Policy prohibits the access of pornographic material, but the University has not enforced this policy.

Notre Dame has not yet responded to the letter.

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