Why are there draconian restrictions on porn at our universities?

“… While pornography isn’t illegal in the UK, restrictions aren’t that different at Oxford – or really, any of the UK’s other bastions of learning … If it’s trivial or impractical to regulate, why ban porn at all? Many universities argue that surfing for porn is banned because it’s not for academic purposes. But this hardly explains why students are only lectured on porn as they are introduced to the network. Nobody worries that they’ll be sent down for shopping for jeans, emailing their grandmother or checking a bus schedule. And frankly, they probably get more out of the porn. It’s hard to single out pornography as uniquely anti-intellectual – and it certainly doesn’t make sense to ban it at universities where students regularly skip to bops in schoolgirl miniskirts or fetish gear. But what such vague and imprecise prohibitions do promote is a kind of self-consciousness, fearfulness, and shame about accessing content that might be damning. Worse, they allow the university to crack down on whoever it chooses, whenever it chooses, with whatever punishments it chooses …” (more)

[Ryan Thoreson, Guardian, 22 January]

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