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These College Guys Are Trying to Ban Porn on Campus

Dec 6, 2018 by

The movement started at Notre Dame but has quickly spread to other universities.

Emily Shugerman –

Republicans and radical feminists have all but abandoned it, but the fight against porn has an unlikely new champion: college men.

Combining the energy of the #MeToo movement with a moral fervor, students at universities across the country told The Daily Beast they are working to get pornography off their campuses.

The effort started at Notre Dame University in October, when 80 male students penned an open letter requesting a porn filter on the campus WiFi. Since then, lead letter-writer Jim Martinson said, he’s received emails from more than 40 students at other universities who want to install a filter on their own campuses.

Georgetown senior Amelia Irvine, a conservative firebrand, told The Daily Beast that Martinson’s letter inspired her to push for something similar at her Catholic university. She plans to recruit support over the winter break and start an open letter or petition in the spring.

Students at secular schools like Harvard, Princeton, and the University of Pennsylvania also said they were excited by the idea, but were still figuring out how it could work on their campuses. At Princeton and Penn, students said they were already tabling and handing out fliers about the dangers of pornography on campus.

“I’m excited and I think we can really get this done,” Martinson said. “And I’m also confident that if we do get it done at Notre Dame, that other universities will follow suit.”

The proposal is simple: Install a filter on the campus WiFi that bars access to all websites that exist for the purpose of disseminating porn. Notre Dame’s technology policy already bans accessing pornographic, sexually explicit, or offensive material on campus networks, but Martinson said he was shocked by the amount of support for a digital barrier. A petition in support of the measure was signed by more than 1,000 men and women—more than a tenth of the Notre Dame student body.

Martinson’s open letter in the Notre Dame Observer claimed that pornography teaches men to objectify women, normalizes sexual assault, and exploits the men and women involved. The men of Notre Dame were calling for a filter, he wrote, “in order to stand up for the dignity of all people, especially women.”

The letter was quickly followed by a response from more than 60 “women of Notre Dame,” who argued that pornography’s prevalence on campus was “preventing men and women from encountering the full personhood of one another in friendships and relationships.”

The proposal’s popularity made headlines in the conservative National Review and the frat-boy favorite Barstool Sports. The student senate discussed it at a recent meeting, according to the Observer, and Martinson said he broached the idea with administrators at the “top of the university.”

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