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PORN BAN: Catholic University Student Gov Seeks To Ban Porn On University Wi-Fi

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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The student government at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., has passed a resolution asking the administration to ban porn on university Wi-Fi.

The Catholic University of America Student Government Association passed the resolution, entitled “A Resolution for a Pornography Free Campus Network,” on April 1. The bill was sponsored by Catholic University student Sen. Gerard McNair-Lewis and calls on the administration to “take an outward stance on the use of pornography by prohibiting access to the top 200 pornography sites through the campus network,” according to the resolution provided to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Vice President Weston Kirby cast the tie-breaking vote of 13 to 12 to pass the resolution, according to a statement released by SGA President Jimmy Harrington. (RELATED: Catholic University Dean Suspended For ‘Insensitive’ Tweet Surrounding Kavanaugh Accuser)

“I am signing the Resolution not from purely religious or Catholic grounds, but because The Catholic University [of] America can and should exercise its rights to prohibit the use of pornography on the campus network,” Harrington wrote in a statement issued April 3 that he provided to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“First, I do not believe that the freedom to watch pornography is one that any student on this campus is entitled to through our network,” the statement said. “Second, some claim that this is censorship of thought, expression, or a violation of some freedom of due information. I respectfully disagree. Rather, it is a regulation that the national University of the Catholic Church or any other private institution ought to be able to enact.”

This resolution comes after The University of Notre Dame and Georgetown University petitioned their administrations to regulate pornograhy use on internet Wi-Fi earlier this year.

McNair-Lewis pointed out to Catholic University’s student newspaper, The Tower, that it would be fitting for the Catholic University administration to announce such a ban during Sexual Assault Awareness Month and in the era of the #MeToo movement. “The whole aspect of pornography, using people as a means to an end of utility of pleasure for pleasure’s sake, allows one to become habituated to acting or thinking a certain way about individuals,” McNair-Lewis told The Tower.

“Surprisingly, the majority of people I have come across have thanked me for standing with this bill,” Cornelius Deep, a member of the student Senate and a co-sponsor of the resolution told The Catholic News Agency. “It is important to be the change you want to see in the world and if we want to see pornography, the intrinsic evil of degrading human beings, be eliminated than we must be the ones to start the change.”

Some students at Catholic University have pushed back against this new legislation.

Rachel Lucas, a freshman politics and Islamic world studies major, told The Tower that this was an infringement on freedom of speech. “Regardless of one’s opinion on the morality of pornography, this ban is an infringement on the freedom of speech and expression of students,” Lucas told The Tower. “I believe that this censorship foreshadows a slippery slope in which the university may begin to ban more internet content depending on their opinion of the subject.”

However, others push back and say that Catholic University is completely within their rights as a Catholic institution. Senior media studies major Elizabeth Plaza argues that since Catholic University pays for the network, they are completely within their rights to control access granted by their Wi-Fi network. “Students sign an acceptable use agreement when they enroll, agreeing to abide by the policies of appropriate internet use,” Plaza told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “If the university deems viewing porn an unacceptable use of their network then they are within their right to place bans on certain websites. Internet use is not a right.”

“The Vatican is against the use of pornography as it is a violation of human dignity,” Plaza continued. “Given that the university is chartered by the Vatican and follows its doctrine, this update to the internet policy is overdue.”

LifeSite News has started a petition to back up Catholic University SGA calling on “the CUA administration, starting with the President of CUA, John Garvey, to enact this legitimate student demand and go further by restricting access to online pornography altogether.” The petition has gained over 2,800 signatures out of a requested 3,000 since it was created Wednesday morning.

The legislation must next be approved by Catholic University President John Garvey, according to The Tower.

When asked to comment on the subject, Garvey told The Daily Caller News Foundation, “I am very proud of our students for passing the resolution.  The University intends to implement it.”

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