We’ve all heard that today’s colleges are campus-sized dens of iniquity. Sexual assault is a constant concern and male students sometimes are seen as little more than predators with backpacks. So, we were uplifted to read a letter to the editor published on Oct. 23 in the University of Notre Dame’s student newspaper, The Observer. The letter, “The men of Notre Dame request a porn filter,” is an open request to university administration to implement a filter on its WiFi networks.
The letter gives some pretty grim statistics, mentioning a 2013 survey showing “that 63 percent of male Notre Dame students have viewed pornography on the university Wi-Fi network. National studies have demonstrated 64 percent of college men and 18 percent of college women spend time viewing online porn each week … One in eight online searches and one in five mobile searches are for pornography, and pornographic websites account for 15 percent of all websites.” The men say they are calling for the filter to stand up for everyone’s dignity — especially the women on campus. The letter notes that while Notre Dame internet policy prohibits accessing porn, the policy is not enforced.
The next day, a response to the men’s letter from Notre Dame’s women was published. The women wrote that they “stand in solidarity” with the signatories of the men’s letter. They wrote that the “widespread consumption of porn does irreparable harm to relations between Notre Dame men and women” and that viewing porn “essentially takes away the ability to love.”
The two letters had more than 100 signatures. Both linked to an online petition with the names of more than 1,000 students, faculty, staff, and friends of the university supporting the filter.
Notre Dame’s fighting ability on the gridiron is legendary. It’s good to know its students are also warriors for dignity and respect.