Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pirate Porn and the Public University

I don't even know how to start this week's blog but i'll give it a shot. The University of Maryland attempted to show a pornographic movie recently. After a a state legislator threatened to withhold funding from the University should they air the film, the school's administrators canceled the event. Student groups however protested and showed the film on their own. No university funds were used to purchase the movie or sponsor the event. This became a free speech issue for the students and some of the professors, feeling that if the showing could educate people about porn's impact on society why shouldn't the university be involved. I remember a porn movie being shown at the University of Georgia movie theater when i was an undergrad student. The event was huge and most of the audience just laughed their way through the film. I've included a link to the news story here. Be sure to watch the video as well as read the article. What are your thoughts?

23 comments:

tvan09 said...

The question is not the why the Senator would like to withdraw public funding from the university. He feels that the college environment is not the appropriate venue to show pornographic movies. The more relevant question is when will we as the "American Public" demand that the government stop denying our constitutional rights?

When will it end? Not too long ago, the federal government passed a little bill that trampled on our right to privacy. They veiled the Patriot Act with the assumptions that the government must know every citizen's actions or inactions in order to fight the terrorists of the world. I would venture to say that the average citizen does not realize the degree in which this bill infringes of one of the most basic rights spelled out in the Constitution and The Bill of Rights.

Of course, this is a First Amendment question. Who funds the public universities? It is the "public" of that state with some federal funding. Who has a right to say what is and is not appropriate to show on a college campus? It is the "students, who are a members of the "public."

I fear that as long as the government is allowed to stomp on our rights as citizens, this country will continue to resemble the Communistic, Socialistic, and Fascist States that we have long been in opposition to.

The college campus, like no other place in America, should be a place where ideas, views, beliefs, and especially human rights should be encouraged and applauded.

Leb23 said...

I do not think that porn should be allowed to be shown at Universities. Showing a film on porn suggests that the University is not opposed to college students viewing porn. Porn has become a problem in our society. Many different organizations have put a lot of time into fighting against the viewing of porn because of its addictive affects. People start watching it, they can't stop, and than they become addicted to it. Before the University showed the porn, they should have considered its consequences.

Also, the University showing this film advocates that they do not take the addictive nature of porn seriously. For example, porn is an addiction, just like alcohol is an addiction. You don't see Universities handing out random samples of beer, so why should Universities be allowed to show porn. Although the people said that they showed the film to protest freedom of speech and to make a point, the message the movie sent out is one of rebellion and defiance, which does not reflect respectable character on the University.

Richard V. Shields III said...

Well, this subject ought to set the standard for controversy and differences of opinion! Many will likely cry "free speech” is the issue. What they really mean is that they don’t want to be told what they can or can’t do. They want to make all of the decisions. Others will posit that pornography is bad and harmful and the public should be saved from themselves. What they really mean is that they agree with the values of the legislator. Society has discovered that whenever someone disagrees with us, the most effective tactic is to belittle them and paint them as unpatriotic, immoral, or some other asset without redeeming value.
The free speech argument, while idealistic, is flawed in the sense that there are always limitations on speech when others are involved and may be harmed (or consider themselves to be harmed). Can anyone who wants to see pornography not have almost immediate access to it? If you want to be associated with it as an individual, you certainly can and no one will stop you if you meet certain age requirements. But do you have the right to require an entire body of people (a university) as part of a public entity to be associated with porn whether that body approves or not?
A public university is no different in many ways than a business whose product is the maturation of minds...knowledge and values. And in order to pursue that mission, it must have standards and a meaningful and appropriate curriculum. A decision must be made by those entrusted with the mission of the university as to the inclusion of the content to be taught and debated…whether the content is philosophy or pornography. To infer that the choice must be left to the students is to claim that patients should run hospitals. Someone has to be in charge. To claim that the only way to have a free exchange on treatment of pornography is to experience it is like saying that you have to step in cow dung in order to really know if it’s a good idea. Trust me. There are other ways to do it.

brob09 said...

It all goes back to freedom of speech. Do I want them to show porn on a college campus? Not particularly but do people have the right to view porn on college campuses. Sure they do. I realize this is not what most people want to hear but we are the United States built on the constitution and admendments. We should not allow the federal government (who believe they have become God Almight) to continue to take our priviliges away from us.

Who is one person to tell us they will withhold funding if it is done? I believe they are using a scare tactic and just like with anything else it works. As long as we sit back and allow people to continue to take our rights away from us, we will get what we deserve. We are becoming a socialist country with no rights at all. We are allowing them to take our right to bear arms, we have allowed them to tell us what we can teach in schools and we also have allowed them to take away all of our Christmas (oh should I not say Christmas) celebrations such as Christmas carols, tree and parades. When will we start standing up for our rights. We have no one to blame but ourselves for all of this happening.

Rebecca Price said...

I do not believe porn should be shown at a university. I think that shows very unprofessional values and morals. Plus it makes the university look bad. You do not have to show a porn to educate people about its impact on society. I can educate myself on that right now by going to google. Showing it to someone is not going to make the learning experience any better except for those who actually enjoy it. To me, it personally sounds like a good excuse to show a porn.
I remember when Mississippi State hosted Porn Nation. A speaker came and spoke about his addiction to porn and how he lost his family over it. He talked about his addiction getting worse, etc. He then talked about getting over his addiction. He also discussed its impact on society. That's 10 times better than watching a porn because you hear someone's REAL story, not their FAKE moans.

D Douglas said...

I believe in freedom of speech, and a person's right to exercise this freedom. I could not imagine living in a nation where freedom of speech could not be exercised, only censored and controlled. Freedom of speech is what allows us to share differences, and to hopefully be able to sensibly debate those differences. In my mind, this is the greatest way to create ideas, and to foster creative dialogue among people. Without free speech, there would be know history of civil rights activist, women's rights activist, conservative and liberal talk radio, numerous news shows, popular music as we know it, and the list goes on.

There was a specific point attempted to be made by the showing of this pornographic film, just how free is our speech? The right is there to practice free speech, but what if someone opposes your views, can they hinder your right to free speech. The legislators reaction to the film being shown clearly proves that opposition to our First Amendment right can be threatened. I agree completely with the intent of the students and faculty, but wish they would have choosen another tool to get their point across with. But maybe without such a tool, we would not be discussing this free speech issue.

Juliet said...

The Senator was out of line when he made the statements about removing state funding for the school if the school sponsored the movie. He made the statement in hopes the university would cancel the movie and they did. In making his statement he brought more attention to the issue of free speech than the movie would have done if it had been shown as scheduled. The point of showing this type of movie was done for shock value in an attempt to bring focus on freedom of speech and expression.

The showing of the movie has allowed proponents for free speech to have a platform on this issue that has garnered more attention because of the Senator's comments. We would not be blogging on this issue if he had not opened his mouth.

I think the debate is healthy. I want my civil liberties protected.

JVJ1 said...

Have you notived that all of the women in the class are against this showing so far? I think that if the showing was going to take place at the University fo maryland and it would not cost the taxpayer money then go for it. Free speech ends when it becomes sponsored by individual and there money.
I do think that the republican party needs to revamp itself as they appear old fashioned and out of touch with today's culture. Do I agree with the Senator....Yes. If this was a private grant to show this movie so be it. It is like stem cell research, I do not want my money going to fund experiements on babies that are ot born, no matter how great the "opportunity". That is my mony that the government has and they owe me, as a taxpayer, the right to refuse the request. Free speech comes at a price. The questions is are you willing ot pay the price?

The constitiution does not say free speech at no cost to you....... Think of what our founding fathers gave up so that they could exercise free speech. If this great experiment known as America would have failed they would have given up their life.

Ellen said...

Develop a policy of what movies can be shown on campus? This is a college campus, not a publicly funded middle school.

I think the senator is out of control and a little power hungry. Who is he to even be involved in what the University is doing. Someone needs to knock him back in line.

College students can be a little ridiculous though. I mean, if you even mention anything that they half way disagree with many of them will be up in arms to fight you just to fight. I feel like it is a mix of immaturity, boredom and never being in any type of serious situation. I don’t know. I have just seen so many college students over react to things like this and not handle it in any kind of appropriate or constructive manor. So I can definitely see how both sides really over reacted.

I think that it is important to discuss these things though. It is a part of the world. And if anything college is the place where you try to adjust to the real world. At least that is how I have always felt. I feel like college, if anytime, is a chance to learn and experience things completely outside of your comfort zone. It is the only socially appropriate time to do out there things like go watch a porno in public with a bunch of other people.

NicoleElizabeth said...

I think if students want to use this as an educational tool then they should. I personally would not attend an event like this because I have no desire to watch a pornographic film. So who am I to object to those who do want to participate in the event. It is not like the students were forcing students to attend the showing of the film. Therefore, why should someone who does not want to attend the event object to it. Like I said earlier. they were not being forced to attend.
As far as the senator threatening to take away school funds, I think that is a bit ridiculous. Who is the senator to decide what should and should not be used for educational purposes? I understand that the film was rated XXX, but if there truly is or was an educational purpose to showing the film, then let film be shown without the university suffereing consequences. Like I have said twice now, students were not being forced to watch the flim. It was their choice to attend or not to attend.
-Nicole Elizabeth

tiffany said...

Well I believe if students wanted to lead the benefit then let it be. I do not believe it should have been funded by the school though. I think the students did the right thing and played the movie on the students time rather than on the school's time. I do however it was stupid to go as far as to the state. The school should have not offered to host the movie in the first place. I know we have our right to speech so I am happy the students voiced their own opinion about the movie. However I do not agree with the school for offering from the start.

rcp20 said...

The question of where to draw the line regarding intervention by the federal government into public life is always a slippery slope. I do not feel that it is a good idea for a university to be providing this type of material, however, I also feel that it is the universities' decision to make. Considering the current seizing of power by our government, now more than ever we should be cautious of any type of government intervention.

Stacey Perkins said...

I personally understand the state legislators position, and I fully support him. State funding shouldn’t be used to show a pornographic movie. As far as I’m concerned tax dollars shouldn’t be used to show pornography.

And I can’t believe that someone would try to argue that they needs to view pornography in order to learn how porn impacts society. That would be like saying that you would need to be shot with a gun to study the destruction guns can cause. I’m actually disturbed that the pornographic movie was still shown in a state college’s classroom. That still seems wrong to me. Weren’t state funds used to build the classrooms on campus? It seems like the state legislator would have mentioned that as well.

Stacey Perkins said...

I just read some of the comments and I can’t believe how many people think this is an issue of freedom of speech. I just don’t see it that way at all. But then again I also wasn’t offended by the Patriot Act. If the government wants to know what library books I’ve checked out or when I call my mama, so be it. And if the government doesn’t want to use tax dollars to publically show pornography, I’m all for the government. I don’t see how freedom of speech has anything to do with appropriateness and inappropriateness.

mic g said...

First off all I think it was a bad move by the University to try and show a XXX film for "learning' purposes and to show how porn impacted society. One professor said that porn was not addicting. Then what excatly was the film for.? I thought it was to show how the porn industry effects society. Of course it does. It a multi billion dollar business. I am sure every college student knows that.
Then the students and University uding the First Admendment. I am tired of everone using the First Admendment. Freedom of Speech.. I know that is when this country is the greatest place to live but there has to be some limit to this. Im sure the for-fathers didnt have this in mind when they wrote the constitution. If one wants to watch porn thats fine. If the goverment was trying to ban porn from legal aged people to view then thats when the first admendment should come into play. If the university wanted to educate of this, they shoulkd have given the student a site to watch the movie, Im sure some had already seen it, and then meet after to discuss. Not for anyone and everyone to view.
And I do think the Senator was way out of line trying to pull funding because of this..

Michael Greene

larrythomas16 said...

Hey I'm all for free speech and expression. This film was being shown on campus for students to either watch the movie ir not. They had a choice and I think that is reason enough to allow the movie in the first place. The state legislator that chose to deny this movie is looking for votes as usual. I have a problem with government always stepping in when they think its going to benefit their cause or campaign. I don't trust any of them. I'm really glad they showed the movie anyway. They show movies with violence, drugs and infidelity, but thats ok, we can overcome those obstacles. Drugs are more addicting than any porn ive ever seen. Most people like the real thing anyway, politicians should know that because most of are caught up in a sex scandal or two.
Heres my take on college, when kids get to college there is a lot of promiscuity going on in the dorm rooms. Along with a lot of alcohol consumption, so if some kids want to blow off some steam and see a porn on campus then let them. At least we know where they are at and they are staying out of trouble. I really hate when government try to pound the gavel in front of something that has to do with what they think is ritcheous. Well everytime they spend money on frivolous crap we shuold stop paying taxes which pays their salary. Frickin morons

amandakthrash said...

When I read the story about this topic, my first thought was,"Who gives a damn?" While I do not watch porn on a regular basis, I do not have an issue with others watching it. Sex is a fact of life, and the portrayal of sex on film (no matter how absurd)are perfectly fine. As long as the choice of attendance was given, why does it really matter where the movie was shown. It was never planned for it to be shown in the presence of minors under 17, so what is the problem with adults watching something that they obviously wanted to watch? I do not want to debate the First Amendment in this post, but we are given freedom freedom of speech and privacy - the freedom to choose. The good senator needs to focus more on other issues of public importance such as the economy, public service, and other state issues instead of worrying about a group of college kids watching porn.

Amanda McCurley Thrash

David Layne said...

I do agree taht all Americans are protected by the first amendment which guarantees fredom of speech. However, I also agree that their are limits on when and where it is approptriate to exercise this freedom.
Just because we have freedom of speech, could we enter a court room and call a judge a "Son of a Bitch" and claim there is nothing wrong with this, we were simply exercising our freedom pof speech?

I believe the same is true for the sponsoring and viewing pornographic material on a public campus. Should our public institutions be sponsoring this type of event? I think not. I think it is in bad taste and character for them to do so.

However, should the government withdraw funding as a result of this? No, I believe they should not. I do however, believe that someone needs to hold the administrators at our colleges and universities accountable for their decisions and actions. If not, ther will be no limits.

madjdinfl said...

I tend to agree with account user Leb 23. I do not like porn at all I think it is sick; although I do not judge or condemn people that like this type of media, this is of course their personal preference. However Leb 23 is correct that it is an addiction for some folks like gambling or alcoholism. I believe there are other ways to inform the public of how porn has affected society with out having a big event to view a porn movie.

I also think that the university students just wanted to do what they felt like. The freedom of speech card should not have been played in this case because first of all how does showing the movie help get the message across that porn has such an affect on the media in our society? It doesn’t. People can go rent heir own porn movie and watch it with out all this controversy. Then maybe have a pep rally or something with some speakers about Porn and our society but just showing a movie doesn’t cut it and the University should have stopped it. I know the university did not condone it or support it with their money but they should have also taken the next step to prevent it, change the dynamic of the event, and not let the students use the facilities to show it.


Melissa Doty

Richard V. Shields III said...

As an addition to my previous post, those of you who follow national events may have noticed that the same University of Maryland faculty-student senate that favored showing the porn movie and protested its ban on the grounds of free speech exclusion, voted less than 48 hours later to ban prayer from the University of Maryland's graduation ceremony.

This was done in spite of the fact that 16 leaders of different religious organizations representing every sect on campus had crafted and agreed to the use of a non-denominational prayer in order to avoid endorsing any particular religion.

I guess the school's application of 'freedom' is measured by the standard of the faculty-senate's values...or lack thereof. The vote to ban was 42-14. Not even close.

Dee Lewis said...

The legislator thought it was inappropriate to show this type of activity to college students. College is a learning environment for students to take what they learn and apply it in their careers. I don't think porn will help them in life.

I don't see why administrators agreed to show porn to students on college campus in the first place. I know it was supposed to be a "learning" tool, but it should not have been shown on campus. In this class, we view such material, but we watch video links, not assemble on college grounds.

Though the students wanted to express their First Amendment right of free speech. They did not have the right to disobey the school administrators. Porn is offensive and obscene and it also presents a legitimate state interest. It interferes with the school's function of maintaining order and disclipline. The only purpose of porn is to provide human stimulation. Showing porn could result in a higher level of sex on campus, pregnancy, rape, and other risky or dangerous behavior.

As stated before, the school administrators shouldn't have approved it in the first place, and they have the authority to punish the people who defied them. In this case, their 1st Amendment rights can be censored because there is a legitimated state interest and the material is obscene.

-Dominique Lyle

Stanley said...

Freedom of Speech is a big issue here. While public universities should be free to show whatever films they think would benefit students, porn is a huge evil in today's society and should be avoided. There's no value in the stuff. But if the professor really felt this film had value, then let the students voluntary attend if they choose.
I think the professor could have provided alternatives for the students to help prevent this issue. The professor could have posted a link for students to view for example.

Caroline said...

I am sure you think I am opinionated and set in my ways, and to a certain degree this is very much true. I was raised that certain things were not appropriate in mixed company nor in public places and I very strongly agree that this is one of those things. I think when it comes to sex, people are more open these days and less modest than ever before. I think this is wrong and not acceptable. What happened to just doing what is right, just because it is the right thing to do. This generation is becoming more appalling every day. The more that is accepted by society, the more they want to be accepted. I think people should stand up for this because it is ruining the lives of our children and grandchildren. I was working at a nearby school one day when I intercepted a note from a "SIXTH" grader concerning oral sex. This is too young for kids to be that comfortable discussing their body and sexuality. I think all of these issues that are being protested just allows for more openness and educates the young way before their time. I applaud Senator Harris for making an effort to hold on to our childrens innocence. Porn should not be made or watched. Seems like I remember only a decade ago the discussion of porn being allowed to be produced, now that it is leagle to make porn films, they want to watch them in public places and on college campus's. This is absurd and appalling. I don't know what our world is going to. I think their should be an "acceptable" Policy made and enforced. I think there are other ways to educate for planned parenting and safe sex than viewing a porn flick. I don't know why the Legislature should have to regulate such as this in a school environment. I think we should stop allowing the thugs in this world to protest and make us uncomfortable. If you must watch porn, cant this be done in the privacy of your home. If you must educate planned parenting and safe sex, do you have to do so by also educating on nudity and open sexuality? This is not a free speech or protect my First Amendment Rights issue, this is a what can we get away with issue. Are there not some people that are innocent anymore and don't by chance know what porn is? Why take away that innocence? If you have to make reference to a porn flick, couldn't you just make the point and have them view it on the internet if they feel comfortable doing so?
Carolyn Stevens