Readers Speak Out On Showing Porn On Campus

April 11, 2009

Times sure have changed. When I was an undergraduate in the 1970s at a large state university on the East Coast, not only did no one object to student film groups showing X-rated movies on campus, it was a given that at least one such film would be shown each semester, usually right before finals week.

Showing an adult film was guaranteed to bring a film club's finances back into the black, attract a large audience and publicize the club.

Yet most of my classmates and I went on to responsible adulthood; there were many future doctors, lawyers, a well-known Hollywood actor and at least one congresswoman among us. In other words, little to no damage occurred as a result of exposure to this kind of media.

But today there seems to be an unwarranted amount of controversy about the showing of an adult film on the University of Maryland campus ("At UM, the triple-X show goes on," April 7).

Most of College Park's student body is over 18 and can therefore legally view such films. This film is by no means a precedent-setting activity. And I bet most of those students know where to find porn on the Internet in the privacy of their dorm room anyway, and even download the stuff to their BlackBerrys.

If president C.D. Mote Jr. and the university leadership really seek to keep porn away from the students, they're fighting a very steep uphill battle.

And through his moralizing and threatening to block the university's budget, state Sen. Andy Harris has revealed his true political stripes.

Rather than a true conservative, he has shown himself to be a statist who believes in using legislation to impose a specific morality. That is not the function or the province of government.

Beth Woodell, Baltimore

As a mother of one son attending the University of Maryland, College Park, and another at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, I urge the the University System of Maryland not to allow further public showings on campus of Pirates II: Stagnetti's Revenge, a racist and sexist movie that depicts a female slave auction followed by an orgy in which the sex is neither safe nor consensual.

The issue with the film is not free speech; it is the use of taxpayer-funded facilities and staff for the showing.

Wherever a student has an expectation of privacy, i.e. in a dorm, he or she can make a personal moral choice about whether to watch such a film.

But university leaders should model for our sons and daughters how adults relate to each other in a caring world.

The objectification and exploitation of other persons for lust or greed is wrong. And real people get hurt in the making and emulating of these films. Promoting casual sex as entertainment debases love and humanity.

Private individuals and institutions can do whatever they want. But don't ask to use my tax or tuition dollars to support this kind of activity.

Dorothy Paugh, Bowie

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