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McGrath proposal unreasonable

By Steve Sherwood
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
January 19, 2000
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To the editor,

It appears Senator Jean McGrath is back at it again. However, this time courses with homosexual content and co-ed dorms are not the only demons plaguing higher education in the state of Arizona. It is the pornography that flows rampantly across university internet connections, corrupting young minds and wasting taxpayer dollars. In McGrath's latest bill, she has proposed that we install filtering systems at all three universities to block student and employee access to pornographic web sites. I'm not exactly sure what she thinks she will accomplish, if this bill passes.

As both a student and an employee here at the University of Arizona, this has never been an issue that concerned me. Never once have I walked into an computer lab and found my self amidst screens of Pamela and Tommy Lee.

Nor have I ever seen www.hotbabes.com in the browser of one of my co-workers. In fact, the only place on-campus I have seen pornography was my freshman year in the dorms.

Understandably, this last case might make McGrath a little uneasy, as she subscribes to the belief that co-ed living arrangements are detrimental to our academic community. But ultra right-wing agendas aside, people over the age of 18 have a legal right to view pornography (as was determined in the Supreme Court case of The People vs. Larry Flynt). In addition, I do not believe that the use of the connection is costing Arizona taxpayers money as dorm residents pay for the majority of the internet connection as part of their housing fee.

Moreover, I highly doubt that the bandwidth cost of accessing this pornography is cutting into the state subsidized portion of the Residence Life Department budget. However if McGrath is so convinced that campus porn use is using up taxpayer dollars, she might consider having a study conducted before she begins trampling on people's first amendment rights. McGrath needs to get a grip. If in fact this problem does exist, (she has presented little evidence that it does), she hasn't allocated any money towards the design and maintenance of this filtration system. This means that the UA will have to appropriate the funds away from something else to build a system that will probably be hacked (i.e. someone will find a way to get around the filter) and then fixed (i.e. that way to get around it will be blocked) every month. The cost of this is rather substantial, far more substantial, I believe, than the bandwidth cost of on-campus pornography could ever be.

Steve Sherwood

Computer Science and Liberal Arts Junior

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