Exeter passes motion to remove porn filter

first_imgExeter College JCR has passed a motion calling for the removal of a college internet filter that blocks ‘pornographic’ websites.The motion pointed out that there were ways of circumventing the filter, which were “inconvenient and unnecessary”.It furthermore noted that the filter blocked websites which were “needed by students for genuine research purposes”, which included sites mentioning ‘The Origins of Sex’, a history book written by a tutor and fellow at Exeter.Fourth year maths and philosophy student and ex-JCR president Katy Moe proposed the motion, in which she noted: “There is nothing wrong with viewing pornography.” Moe explained that the “provocative wording” was “deliberate”. She said, “I’d anticipated that the JCR would move to change the wording to rule out illegal and exploitative pornography which, of course, is not okay.”However, she asserted, “Exonians are adults who are able to make their own ethical judgements. Exeter College is not in loco parentis. ”Describing the debate, she remarked, “Opposition to the motion was not very vocal. One person mentioned the risk of computer viruses. It was countered that this is not the reason the IT staff give for having the filter in place.”The motion was passed on Sunday with 27 votes in favour, versus 17 votes against and 12 abstentions. The resolution mandated that the JCR Domestic and Accommodation Officer “propose to the college IT Committee that the pornography filter be removed”. Exeter College did not comment on the current system, but JCR IT officer Harry Willis explained how it worked. “Pornography websites are blocked by a standard commercial web filter, similar to those at most institutions,” he said.“College have the facility to whitelist incorrectly blocked sites, and the instructions for requesting such a change are clearly stated on the ‘blocked’ page.”Exeter students generally agreed this was a long time coming. One PPEist vented, “Researching the film ‘Deep Throat’ for my politics essay on free speech proved difficult last year.” Second year PPEist Matt Slomka quipped, “Having spent many an unsuccessful post-Park End night frustrated in my room, I hope future generations of Exonians will no longer have to go elsewhere for painfully slow streaming.” Second year lawyer Jasmine Leng commented, “Whether you watch porn or not is irrelevant. It’s strange to me that students, who are usually encouraged to be engaged and well informed, should be censored on a controversial topic that actually provides a good forum for debate on wider issues.”First year PPEist Asfandyar Qureshi hailed the “repeal of the porn laws.” Stating that there was  “nothing wrong with viewing legal pornography”, he remarked, “The JCR has sought to remove an unjustifiable ban that did nothing but bring student productivity to its knees through sexual frustration.”Exeter equalities officer Ed Nickell added, “Our JCR fund a controversially named feminist magazine that discusses all matters of sex, gender, and sexuality. We’re a progressive college: caricatures of testosteronefuelled ‘lads’ couldn’t be further from the truth.”OUSU women’s officer Sarah Pine commented, “Students are in a position to think critically about pornography. I hope they consider if anything they watch is ethically made: without coercion or danger to those involved.”Other Oxford students applauded the move. An anonymous Christ Church physicist remarked that the JCR was “in good hands.” He added, “I regularly watch erotic movies on the JCR widescreens to give me inspiration for my next problem set.” St Anne’s student Ryan Widdows expressed “shock” at the filter. “Watching pornography is not illegal,” he said. “I sincerely hope that the block is removed so that Exeter students can experience poorly written porn films like the rest of us’.last_img

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