Pornography use restricted, with a caveat

Recent attacks on academic freedom are threatening intellectual discourse on campus. Fortunately, the University of Notre Dame is at the forefront of appeasing a polemical public while maintaining her commitment to free and open research.

Per a March 30 press release, Notre Dame News announced: “A group of radical students with an insatiable appetite for fascism have sought to ban hundreds of pornography websites from campus Wi-Fi. This assault on free speech is unprecedented; records indicate that the websites they wish to suppress pertain to the most commonly researched topics at the school, among students and faculty alike.”

“We are working to create alternative solutions for students and faculty whose needs this will negatively affect. Many students report wishing they spent less time on these sites and are advocating for self-help, but cutting down on our students’ research time is the last thing we, as a leading research university, should do,” the statement concluded.

“We have tried every excuse in the book to convince these immoral young men and women who wish to regulate the material that their peers may access on campus networks to no avail: everything from lying that it is technologically infeasible to pretending that we trust students to follow their ‘well-formed’ consciences with no institutional support,” explained Title IX coordinator Karen Erotica. “But they keep falling back on well-supported—but meaningless—reasons for restricting campus Wi-Fi. These include: ‘viewing pornography increases sexual violence.’ Caring about that isn’t in my job description, I only ensure that we grant numerically equal athletic scholarships to men and women,” she added.

Erotica concluded her comments, stating, “Academic freedom has been our last plausible excuse for keeping Pornhub and all similar internet research sites available to the Notre Dame community, but even that has been somewhat deflected.”

Just when this dire situation seemed irresolvable, the university board of directors approved a brilliant plan to maintain freedom and appease student protesters.

“You know that construction we’ve been doing on the first floor of Hesburgh Library?” Student Affairs worker Shannon Shenanigan wrote to the Rover, “we’re transforming the library ‘fishbowl’ room into a Zone of FreedomTM. So you see, these prudes want to get rid of porn, but that would affect our students, faculty, and staff’s ability to fulfill the university’s mission of ‘research literally anything you’d like so long as it makes us look good in the eyes of the Ivies.’”

Shenanigan continued, “I thought to myself, if Academic Freedom is at stake—we have to take desperate measures. Well, I reasoned, what if we ban pornography on the entire campus’ Wi-Fi except for the transparent, glass-walled fishbowl in the library. Then everyone could still do whatever research they need in there!”

Shenanigan’s proposal was approved by the university board of directors unanimously. It turns out that they all actually believed that MindGeek was a study tool, and their outcries regarding academic freedom were genuine.

Others, however, were deflated by the decision. Barbara Welkome of University Admissions complained to the Rover, “I always tell my tour guides to stop in front of Hesburgh Library to explain the history of the school to Notre Dame hopefuls. Now they will constantly see through the window a room packed with young men studying, and all the guys on the tour will think that we’re a bunch of nerds. Then they’ll never come here. Maybe we can stop in front of the main building from now on. No work gets done in there, so it’d be a real inspiration.”

Students for Child-Oriented Policy approved of the decision, releasing an official statement saying, “While we wish the filter extended to all campus Wi-Fi, I hope that our fellow students will have enough shame to not, you know, do research in the fishbowl anymore.”

In conjunction with the university’s decision, Hesburgh Library Special Collections—across the hall from the fishbowl—recently obtained J. Edgar Hoover’s massive physical collection of pornographic materials. The Rover requested comment via email regarding what they plan to do with these materials, but they received an automated response stating: “Due to an unprecedented spike in student interest in the archives, we will take up to two weeks to respond to your request. You can likely access what you are looking for online across the hall.”

Since this decision won the favor of both the Southern Poverty Law Form and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Fr. Jenkins was pleased with the outcome. “We were able to bridge the gap—please the libertarians and the progressives. That is what Notre Dame is all about.”

Joseph DeReuil is a Notre Dame undergraduate who plans to resurrect the Eye of the Tiber after graduation. 

Photo Credit: Matt Cashore