St Anne’s votes against blocking porn

St Anne’s votes against blocking porn

stannesA motion to ban student access to five porn websites was defeated in a St Anne’s JCR meeting last Sunday.

The motion was proposed by the JCR Equalities and Access Officer Joe Collin in an attempt to make a public statement of the common room’s opposition to “violent and degrading pornography.”

Generating considerable debate that lasted for over an hour, the motion was eventually defeated, with approximately two thirds of members present voting against.

One of the main reasons given by those who opposed its passage was that the fact that it only banned five sites made it “pointless”, as those who wished to could easily access pornographic material from other places. Students also pointed to instances in other colleges where over-zealous filters had prevented access to sites necessary for academic research.

Furthermore, many opposed what was seen as a limitation of students’ individual liberties, particularly since the listed sites did not specialise in the type of material that the motion opposed.

The meeting also saw the discussion of other controversial motions. One of these included a constitutional amendment to make College welfare levies compulsory, which was opposed by some students on the grounds that they did not want to contribute money to the provision of contraception.

Toby Fuller, a JCR member among those who opposed the porn motion on practical grounds, stressed the general opposition of the JCR to this type of pornography: “The conversation boiled down to the point where almost everyone agreed that a public statement against violent and degrading porn was needed.”

Fuller, a first-year historian, went on to state that “St Anne’s has a proud tradition” of promoting equality and opposing the oppression of women in all forms.

An enthusiastic porn user from Keble stated: “This is utterly ridiculous. I completely agree that degrading porn is damaging to women’s rights, but only about 20 per cent of the porn I watch is in this vein, the other 80 per cent is female-friendly and involves the mutual enjoyment of the many ladies present. To ban me from watching this violates a number of my human rights.”

The motion had first been deliberated by the Feminist Discussion Group of St Anne’s as early as Week 4 of this term.

The application of internet filters has also proved controversial at other colleges. Michaelmas saw Exeter students voting to remove theirs, citing it as inefficient and an inconvenience to those trying to work.

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