College Students Are Asking for Porn Sites to Be Banned

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At the beginning of April, students at Catholic University of America (CUA) narrowly passed a resolution to ban 200 porn sites from the university’s Wi-Fi. While the resolution does not affect CUA’s actual policy, it does send a message that porn is something many students are against.

“It is difficult to ignore the firm stance against pornography made by our student body,” Karna Loyoza, who is a spokesperson for CUA, told the Catholic News Agency (CNA).

Why the Resolution?

According to CUA’s university paper, The Tower, the resolution was “inspired by an anti-pornography petition that had gathered 351 signatures from undergraduate students.” The Student Government Association’s (SGA) meeting at which the resolution was voted on was well-attended and people were allowed to publicly defend or oppose the resolution. Ally Kilgore, Representative for the Class of 2021, supported it, saying, “You don’t need to be a Catholic or even believe any Christian teaching in order to understand the many ways in which pornography is wrong.” The Tower observed that students who did not support the resolution were not for pornography so much as they were concerned about censorship. One student said, “I don’t think it’s in the character of this university to start censoring information. For example we don’t generally impose our religion on the students that go here. We’re a relatively tolerant university.”

When it came time to vote, the SGA senate was evenly split with 12 for the resolution and 12 against it. Vice President Weston Kirby cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the resolution.

In a statement reported by The Daily Caller, SGA president Jimmy Harrington said that the resolution does not inhibit freedom of speech, but rather, “is a regulation that the national University of the Catholic Church or any other private institution ought to be able to enact.” Harrington also pointed out that porn sites are dangerous and can introduce malware, which is reason enough for some secular universities to ban pornography.

Many have noted that a ban against pornographic sites is in accordance with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which says that pornography “offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other” and “does grave injury to the dignity of its participants.”

One of the co-sponsors of the resolution, Cornelius Deep, expressed his surprise at how much support there was for the resolution among the student body. “The majority of people I have come across have thanked me for standing with this bill,” he told the Catholic News Agency. He believes his peers recognize that porn is damaging, even if they consume it.

In an opinion piece for The Arlington Catholic Herald, CUA president, John Garvey, said, “I am so proud of our students.” He noted that while banning 200 websites won’t stop people from accessing other porn sites if they want to, the fact the students passed the resolution nevertheless sends a message that “this is not the sort of relationship they should be looking for.” When asked for a comment about the resolution, Garvey told The Daily Caller, “The University intends to implement it.”

Different Story at Notre Dame

CUA’s response to its students contrasts with that of the administration of Notre Dame. Last fall, over 1,000 people who were not only Notre Dame students but also faculty and staff signed an open letter calling for a ban on access to porn sites on the university’s Wi-Fi. The letter is called “The men of Notre Dame request a porn filter,” and says, “This filter would send the unequivocal message that pornography is an affront to human rights and catastrophic to individuals and relationships. We are calling for this action in order to stand up for the dignity of all people, especially women.”

The letter goes on to elaborate on the harmful effects of porn and how tolerating it does not fit with the university’s character. The letter also states that Notre Dame’s current policy bans the use of porn, but that this policy is not enforced.

The administration, however, has decided not to introduce such a filter to its system. In his response, President Rev. John Jenkins said, “Although we do not believe a mandatory filter is the best solution for us, we are taking steps to encourage students and others to adopt filters voluntarily.”

Even though porn use is widely tolerated throughout our culture, it is heartening to see that some young adults are recognizing its harmfulness and its offense against human rights. As Karna Lozoya told Newsweek, “Despite growing up in a culture that has tended to normalize pornography, young people are able to see the connection between the porn industry and sex trafficking, as well as its impact on healthy relationships.”

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Jessica Mouser
Jessica Mouser is a writer for ChurchLeaders.com. She has always had a passion for the written word and has been writing professionally for the past two years. She especially enjoys evaluating how various beliefs play out within culture. When Jessica isn't writing, she enjoys playing the piano, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.

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