A group of male students have taken a public stand against pornography on the college campus of the University of Notre Dame, by way of publishing a letter in the student newspaper back in October 2018. The letter, signed by eighty male students, called pornography “an affront to human rights.”
The students launched a campaign to call on the Notre Dame administration to block pornography from the university’s wireless network. Other students at Harvard University, Princeton University, and the University of Pennsylvania, have raised similar concerns and proposed blocking lewd online content on the university wireless networks.
Notre Dame already prohibits accessing pornography on its internet networks, with university spokesman Paul Browne saying that the university expects students to “self-filter” and not to visit pornographic websites. He said, “We recognize that pornography is exploitative and not a victimless crime.” One of the students leading the campaign, Jim Martinson, said that they expect a filter “by the end of the year.”
Among other criticisms, the Notre Dame students said that pornography perpetuates violence toward women and could be tied to the sexual abuse of children, rape, and male fertility problems. Some students responded after the letter was published and said that the group’s data source was flawed and unreliable because it came from a traditional family values organization, the Marriage and Religion Research Institute.
Inside Higher Ed noted that conservative students are taking the lead in pushing for filters on pornographic online material. The group at Harvard University is called the Anscombe Society, which promotes “chastity and sexual ethics.”
The civil liberties watchdog group, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) opposes Notre Dame’s filter efforts because “[a] filter would not only censor protected speech, it would also be ineffective at preventing people from viewing pornography.”