Debbie Does CSU

Oct 122005
Authors: James Baetke

Andrew Carter was pounding away at an assignment for his business class when he received an education for which he never asked.

"I was saving my assignment when all this saved porn in the temporary file popped up," Carter said. "I saw things I never saw before."

Embarrassed and slightly shocked, Carter said he went to tell a library employee about the smut he found.

"The librarian didn't do much," said Carter, senior business major. "She just went to my computer and deleted the images. End of story."

Pornography can be ogled at computer labs throughout the university. It's a daily fixture on university hard disks – and it's perfectly legal. The thrust of the pro-porn argument lies in academic freedom, campus police said.

Smut does not conflict directly with any rules dealing with student codes of conduct or the university's Internet policy. Julie Wessling, the assistant dean for the Morgan Library, said her staff does not monitor or censor individuals browsing the Internet for sex acts.

"Libraries adhere very closely to the guidelines and statements to the American Library Association," Wessling said. "Pornography is strictly protected by privacy laws."

On the other hand, if anyone becomes too physically involved with the flicks or views illegal images, they might find themselves handcuffed.

Library staff is trained to identity child pornography but do not actively watch computer users unless it is overtly brought to their attention, Wessling said.

Patrick Burns, associate vice president for information and instructional technology, helps monitor the 2,600 computers on campus in making sure no laws are being broken.

"I think it's a code of conduct issue," Burns said.

The computer guru believes if someone's porn session on campus becomes bothersome to others and lacks reasonable judgment, it should result in a violation of student conduct.

At the same time, Burns is under strict management not to censor Web sites and to maintain a strong sense of privacy among students.

The CSU Police Department is called about once or twice each year to deal with child pornography surfacing on campus.

CSUPD Cpl. David Hurley used to deal with cases involving his expertise in computer forensics and said campus computers are like an open book.

"When I was investigating kiddie porn, we were reactive," Hurley said, meaning CSUPD was only involved after someone reacted to what they perceived as being illegal.

Hurley said it is important to note that if someone is viewing or saving pornography near someone who is unhappy with it, the disgruntled person may just have to get off the computer and walk away.

"We are an educational environment and we are not going to restrict access to research in an academic setting," Hurley said.

To Carter, it's still unsettling that dirty deeds are splashed across campus computer screens.

Carter asked: "Why do I have to be subject to unflattering images when typing up an assignment?"

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