Policy Proposal to Filter the Internet at the University of Notre Dame

A Call for Decency and Respect

Policy Proposal to Filter the Internet at the University of Notre Dame

Students for Child Oriented Policy

November 1, 2018

We, Notre Dame students—deeply concerned about the proliferation of pornography consumption and how it fuels addiction, sexual assault, and the acceptance, normalization and sexualization of cruelty towards women—call for Notre Dame President Fr. John Jenkins, C.S.C., to take immediate action to promote a pornography-free campus. Specifically, we call for Fr. Jenkins to enforce the University’s “Responsible Use of Data & Information Technology Resources Policy” by implementing a pornography filter on the Notre Dame campus internet service.

  1. Pornography as a Moral & Public Health Crisis

Pornography advances a twisted narrative about human sexuality, harms those who consume it, and leads, in particular, to the sexualization of and cruelty towards women. Pornography harms people, relationships, and communities. It is associated with addiction, sexual assault, and the normalization of cruelty towards women. It insidiously undermines the Catholic Church’s teachings about human sexuality. As the research on the damaging effects of pornography is better understood, at least 7 states have officially declared pornography a public health crisis (Florida, Kansas, Utah, Arkansas, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia).

  1.  A Filter Would Enforce Notre Dame’s Already-Existing Policies

By implementing a pornography filter, Notre Dame would take a stand against pornography, and for decency and respect. By implementing a filter, Notre Dame will be able to effectively enforce its long-standing internet use policy, which states that accessing pornography is prohibited. Currently we know of no serious effort to limit pornography consumption through the University’s resources so we simply ask Fr. Jenkins to take the necessary steps to enforce Notre Dame’s own policy against accessing pornography and cement it’s status as an ethical leader among educational institutions.

  1.  A Filter is a Necessary First Step to Building a Campus Culture of Decency and Respect

A filter on ND’s internet, of course, will not eradicate pornography consumption on campus, given cellular access, but as a Catholic university, Notre Dame has a responsibility to encourage ways of living consonant with a Christian community and to foster a campus culture that encourages and supports moral virtue. Notre Dame has an opportunity to further promote its admired community culture of sincere respect, friendship, and authentic love by rejecting the lens of objectification.  Over 1,000 students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of Notre Dame have already called on the University to take a stand this principled stance in support of a porn-free community.

  1.  Holy Cross College and Others Have a Filter; ND Should Follow Suit

Notre Dame should follow the lead of our brother college, Holy Cross College (Notre Dame, IN), which has implemented a pornography filter on its campus. And Holy Cross College is not alone. Franciscan University and Christendom College also have implemented pornography filters. Major corporations, including McDonalds, Starbucks, and Panera, have placed filters on their internet. It is time for Our Lady’s University to do what should have been done long ago and take action against the harms of pornography and thereby better foster a campus of decency and respect.

Read the men’s letter here.

Read the women’s letter here.

View the ND Pornography Filter Signatures here.

James Martinson (President, Students for Child-Oriented Policy): jmartins@nd.edu

Ellie Gardey (Vice-President, Students for Child-Oriented Policy): egardey@nd.edu