Viewpoint: Porn shouldn't be allowed in computer labs

Porn. So much of American society, private and otherwise, seems to revolve around the copulation and faux copulation of human beings. It’s pretty easy to flip on the television and see generally non-clothed people rolling around and having relations of a sexual nature. One would think that a place to find solace from porn would be on the campus of higher education, where the famously time-lacking students are thought to be working hard to improve themselves through the means of learning.

Well, as it turns out, one would be wrong.

It seems there have been exponential incidences of Weber State University students going to the library to study human anatomy — not for any class, but for other, more self-gratifying reasons. The worst part is, legally, neither the library nor university personnel can do anything about it. For some reason, watching porn on library computers doesn’t technically violate the Internet usage contract, even though it takes place on university computers that require student login information. Appropriate uses of public-access workstations in the library include “instruction, study, research, and personal enrichment.” It is doubtful that pornography falls under any of those categories. The most probable one is “personal enrichment,” but let’s be honest — the only thing really being enriched is the blood flow to various body parts.

Although it’s in every other nook and cranny in American society, should porn be allowed to infiltrate the campuses of higher education? The general consensus seems to be ‘no.’ Recently, new signs were placed on the computers in WSU’s library that read “no pornography.” The signs were put up by the head of Reference and Information Services, Kathy Payne, in hopes of preventing the public viewing of pornography on campus. The attempt should be applauded, although it might be in vain.

Besides the fact that porn is generally unsavory regardless of the setting in which it is viewed, it is astonishing that these college students have somehow found time to waste watching porn instead of worrying about their studies.

Because WSU is a public university, according to its legal consultants, it becomes really difficult to classify what is being used for educational purposes and what is not. It’s logical, and as students we should respect the fact that administrators don’t want to put a limit on what can be called educational, but protecting porn is ridiculous. The entire porn industry is completely recreational (besides the participants, who I assume gain something monetarily), not something worthy of protection or justification as a form of education. Even with a signed appropriate use contract, computer privileges cannot be revoked because of the university’s status as public. This seems like circular logic. The hard fact that WSU is a public university — receiving predominantly taxpayer funding — should almost make it easier to not allow something like pornography on campus. Surely taxpayers would not like the fact that the money they are paying is going to fund delinquent students who obviously have too much time on their hands (among other things).

The university provides nice computers and software meant to be used in the pursuit of higher education, not for voyeurism.