Friday, October 24, 2014

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Notre Dame Provides Access to Porn

The University of Notre Dame provides internet service with no filter or blocking ability of pornography, making it the largest pornography provider on campus, according to one group. The Irish Rover, an independent student publication committed to preserving the Catholic identity of Notre Dame, originally reported on this issue in a recent edition. According to their piece, it seems that the University simply hopes students won't look at it. The Sycamore Trust followed up on that piece by calling the university and asking about providing access to pornography to students.
Our question: As the ISP and the provider also of cable television to students, the University doubtless has the ability to block sites and channels that are without question egregiously pornographic. This would not, of course, prevent students from gaining access to pornography. It is too omnipresent. But at least much of the worst material might be blocked and, more importantly, the action would amount to a statement by the University. [We] assume pornographic magazines are not offered in Hammes or elsewhere on campus, but at present the University delivers it to the students via the Internet and television in large and unrestricted volume. The University spokesperson’s answer, “essentially the same” as he had given the Rover, was – brace yourselves – that the University relies upon the students not to look.
They continue:
So one can only speculate as to the real reason the University serves as the principal distributor of pornography at Notre Dame. To make matters worse, the University charges for doing it. But what is in any event clear is that, since the University thereby acts as an enabler of what the Church teaches is grave sin, the University is not acting in accord with Ex Corde Ecclesiae’sinjunction that at a truly Catholic university “ Catholic teaching and discipline are to influence all university activities.”
This problem is likely not singular to Notre Dame.  In fact, Catholic colleges that have taken measures to block access to pornography from students seem to be in the minority. CNA reported in 2008 that the move by Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania to place internet filters on its computer network to block student access to pornography and gambling websites was controversial. That action was undertaken by then President Jim Towey in 2006 who has since left to become President of Ave Maria University. But the Cardinal Newman Society confirmed with St. Vincent's that the block on pornography is still in place. The Irish Rover quoted experts on campus on this issue to explain how porn could damage students.
Fr. Wilson (Bill) Miscamble, CSC, professor of history and former rector, echoed Fr. Haag’s comments. “Pornography tends to limit the capacity of its users to develop genuine friendships with women,” he said. “The porn habit produces individuals who have no deep commitment to the dignity of human persons and little real respect for themselves. It is deeply harmful to young men and it serves to handicap their emergence as real and mature men.” “Notre Dame is a place that is concerned to educate the ‘whole person,’” said Fr. Miscamble. “At its best it provides for the moral development and spiritual well-being of its students.” David G. Moss, interim director of the Gender Relations Center (GRC), said that “pornography normalizes the idea of physical intimacy without relationship.  The hook-up culture adopts this fantasized concept of ‘sex whenever you want it’ and translates it for consumption in a more palatable format.” According to Moss, there is not enough being done to raise awareness of this issue. “The GRC is always concerned with any issue that hinders our ability to build authentic relationship in our community,” he said. “Our best weapon against this societal ill is to educate our student body about the havoc objectification of the other has on genuine relationships, and the GRC hopes to be a participant in these conversations.” “Personal conviction is the best answer to this problem,” added Moss. “This is a difficult calling, but one that I believe the Notre Dame community is ready to accept.”

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