Blocking Pornography on Campus
Students don’t have to vote to block pornography at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, like they do at other Catholic schools.
Benedictine College already has a robust anti-pornography program that includes an Internet firewall that is continually updated to block pornography sites, free student Covenant Eyes memberships, extensive education efforts by college chaplains, several treatment options from the college Counseling Center and yearlong programming by Residence Life staff.
Pornography access on college campuses has been in the news recently.
Catholic University of America students presented a petition to the school’s administration along with a student government resolution calling for a “Pornography-Free Campus Network,” the Catholic News Agency reported April 5. The University of Notre Dame has denied a similar request from student petitioners who gathered 12,000 signatures, Newsweek reported April 12.
Benedictine College has long blocked pornography on its campus networks as just one part of a campuswide interdepartmental initiative against pornography.
“Our firewall blocks porn based upon several words or phrases that would indicate porn,” said Randy Rowland, the college’s I.T. director. “The manufacturer of the firewall also has a blacklist that they constantly update to block porn sites. This method prevents the vast majority of porn sites from reaching campus.”
In addition, the college has been piloting a program with Covenant Eyes, offering their software free to students. Covenant Eyes filters Internet content and reports Internet use to an accountability partner.
The college’s chaplains also dedicate all campus Masses once yearly to discuss the dangers and consequences of pornography. Catholic Answers pamphlets addressing pornography are supplied at several campus locations.
Chaplains give an Accountability and Addiction Presentation at the school’s Counseling Center, and a day and a half workshop with facilitators that include Archdiocesan experts. Chaplains also dedicate 20-30 hours a week to confession where pornography use is addressed on a one-on-one basis.
College Ministry’s One Love Team of student volunteers receives training on how to promote chastity formation on campus and to local high school students.
The college counseling center has made pornography a focus, including offering individual counseling specifically for males struggling with issues around pornography and relationships.
The counseling offers a recovery group for men struggling with pornography addiction, and has created a Fight the New Drug anti-pornography event which will start next semester.
Residence Life staff receive Theology of the body training with Christopher West to learn how to promote the Church’s teaching about human sexuality to students through programming.
All Benedictine College residence halls participate in the Real Love Initiative Week whose goal is to bring to light the power of relationships and sexuality to either affirm or wound individuals and our society as a whole.
“Our aim is to equip students with good information, inspire them to grow in their understanding of the human person, commit to healthy relationships, and support a culture of chastity and respect at Benedictine College,” says the Residence Life Office.
Residence Life is benefited by several student formation clubs, including Sons of Benedict and Exodus 90 for men, and Fiat 90 and the Goretti Group for women.
The college strictly enforces its visitation policy. Violations often involve conversations with professional staff members about chastity. The college also enforces violations of the objectification of people in residence halls.
Apostolates on Campus
Benedictine College students’ spiritual and moral development is also served by apostolates dedicated to bringing young people closer to Jesus Christ in his Church.
Ten FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) missionaries and 92 FOCUS student leaders provide Bible studies and mentorship concentrating on chastity. Nine St. Paul’s Outreach missionaries and 30 student SPO leaders serve the student body in such events as Trust One Greater, featuring Archbishop Joseph Naumann and in SPO formation nights.
“The damage done by pornography is now well known and pervasive in society,” said Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis. “Benedictine College hopes not just to provide a better campus environment, but to graduate young men and women who will help Transform Culture in America by promoting respect for human dignity.”