Internet policies and pornography

It was just the other week that Gustavus reported three incidents of sexual assault, an issue that Gustavus takes very seriously.  However, have we stopped to consider that sexual assault might only be a symptom of a larger problem and not a root issue?  Dr. Patrick Fagan of the Family Research Council published an article that associates pornography viewing habits with an increased propensity to engage in sexually aggressive behavior.

Currently, our Internet-usage policies make no explicit statement regarding pornography.  However, as an institution that aims to affirm the dignity of all individuals, it would be very easy for us to advance institutional policies that would allocate the use of campus-owned computers and resources in a way that aligns with our faith tradition and our core values.

Accordingly, the development of transparent guidelines governing the network usage of campus computers and resources would affirm that Gustavus seeks to provide all students with an environment for learning and living that is both supporting and nurturing. Therefore, I advocate the implementation of the following two proposals:

  1. Have pornography filters installed on all campus-owned computers. Public computers in library open space can be exempt from having the software installed to ensure that filtering doesn’t hamper academic research.
  2. Give students the option of installing this software on their personal computers, much in the same manner that students install anti-virus software before accessing the school’s network.  Because this would increase compliance with the intended use of the College’s technology resources of supporting “teaching, learning, research and campus services,” the bandwidth allocation connected to a student’s MAC address could be increased by 50 percent.

Clearly, these proposals are two tangible common-sense campus reforms that are non-invasive, hardly restrictive and would go far in promoting a more positive community in the student body.

Phil Cleary ‘11

3 thoughts on “Internet policies and pornography

  1. Outstanding! I love the call for free filtering software!

    However, consider the following:

    “Public computers in library open space can be exempt from having the software installed to ensure that filtering doesn’t hamper academic research.”

    They could, but better would be to use filters effectively. So many campuses are negatively affected by unfiltered computers in public libraries, and from what I have seen over the years, by nonstudents. Modern filters are quite effective and would not hamper academic research if configured and used effectively.

    Please consider that and contact me should you like further information.

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