On Monday night in the SA Senate meeting, we were asked to approve an expanded list of titles for the DVD library. One of the senators suggested that a list of pornography titles be added to the proposed list, and a lengthy and heated debate ensued.

There were many arguments put forth on both sides of the issue. In support of putting pornography on the list, some people cited issues such as censorship, entertainment and fairness to genre. In opposition, moral and religious objections were discussed. When the motion to add pornography titles to the list came to a vote, the result was seven votes in favor, six votes opposed and four abstentions. This result did not pass or fail the issue, and it may be brought before the senate again in the future.

The way I see it, both sides have valid points. I personally don’t believe there should be pornography in the DVD library because I believe it objectifies women.

However, I can understand that other people have different viewpoints and that my opinion does not necessarily trump theirs. That aside, I have two main problems with this issue. First, if we were to purchase the pornography titles for the library, the money would come out of the funds entrusted to the senate by every student for activities fees. That would mean that even people with strong moral objections to pornography would be paying for it to be put on the shelf. Second, I am very leery of passing this through senate without student input.

Every senator has constituents that are strongly in favor of having pornography in the library, and constituents who are just as strongly opposed. In a situation like this, it is very difficult for senators to say with confidence that they represent the whole of their constituency.

The second problem is not too difficult to solve. A campus-wide poll would reflect the feelings of the students who have an interest in this issue. It could be a valuable tool to gauge the opinions of the students on campus. The first problem might be a little more difficult to deal with fairly, but here is what I propose. People who would like to see pornography in the DVD library should donate one or two dollars to the library to buy pornography. This way, only people who are interested in it will pay for it, and the level of interest will dictate the amount of pornography purchased.

In addition, people who have an objection to it will not be forced to give their money for it. This should take care of the censorship and fairness to genre issues, cause the number of titles purchased to reflect campuswide interest, and avoid using money from people who have strong objections to pornography. In addition, the pornographic DVDs should be kept separate from the rest of the DVDs, so people who find the covers or titles offensive will not have to see them when they are browsing through the DVD library.

I believe this compromise would solve a lot of the problems that have come up around this issue. However, this issue is still open, and may still come before senate in the near future.

So I would urge everyone to go to the senate Web site, find out who their senator is, and write to them, letting them know how you feel about putting pornography in the library. They can’t represent you well if they never hear your opinion. I believe that we can deal with these issues together, and that a compromise that everyone can at least tolerate will be reached.



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