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Bid to Deny Porn Access on Professors' PCs Fails

A Cal Poly SLO faculty panel rejects an effort to bar instructors from using state computers to view Internet sex sites.

May 15, 2003|From Associated Press

SAN LUIS OBISPO — An effort to stop Cal Poly professors from viewing Internet sex sites on state-owned computers has failed.

Professors can continue to view adult pornography on state-owned computers in their offices, so long as it does not create a hostile work environment, the executive committee of the Academic Senate at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo decided Tuesday.

The committee, which helps set campus computing rules, considered a resolution that would have barred professors from looking at such images. But the committee struck down the proposal on a 6-4 vote, keeping it from going to the full senate.

The move killed the resolution to ban pornography on campus, but it left open the possibility that it could come back later. The executive committee will not meet again until this fall.

"People in the workplace are enjoying the privilege of sexual entertainment with state resources," said Linda Vanasupa, materials engineering department chair. "There are people who feel this is not appropriate. My colleagues don't seem to be willing to give up that privilege."

Vanasupa said she drafted the resolution after her former boss viewed pornography on his office computer and created a hostile work environment. The resolution would have allowed professors to view sexually explicit images for academic purposes.

But some faculty members said it didn't adequately allow for academic research or classroom presentations.

"In physiology, we talk about sexual excitement," biology professor Susan Elrod said. "How is the biology faculty not going to get called on the carpet if we show nude pictures to our class?"

Dissenters also argued that the proposal would have infringed on academic freedom and their 1st Amendment rights.

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