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Maturity Returns to the University of Maryland

By Eva Rodriguez

It took a bunch of "kids" to bring maturity and a sense of perspective to the University of Maryland.

As The Post wrote and I commented on last week, some state lawmakers went into a tizzy -- and threatened to cut off millions of dollars funding -- after learning that the school's student union planned to show a XXX-rated film. Sadly, campus administrators caved in to these silly threats and canceled the screening that had been scheduled for last Saturday. But a group of smart and gutsy Maryland students wouldn't let the issue die.

These students orchestrated a truncated showing of the film -- "Pirates II: Stagnetti's Revenge" -- and organized a panel discussion on the impact of pornography, as well as the role and possible limits of free speech. They invited speakers with different points of view, including state Sen. Andrew P. Harris (R-Baltimore County), who first made the stink about the film and threatened punitive action. (Perhaps not surprising, but certainly disappointing, Harris declined the invitation.) Some 200 students attended the screening last night -- and the world did not come to an end.

Harris, of course, is entitled to his opinions and he's well within his rights to criticize the student union's choice of material. Where he crossed the line was in using his public office -- and public funds -- to bully the school into submitting to his point of view. Just as disheartening, U-Md. administrators failed to stand up for one of the most cherished of values on a college campus: academic freedom.

No doubt some of the students showed up to see the film out of purely prurient interest. But several of them, when interviewed by The Post, demonstrated an understanding of the importance of going forward with the screening and discussing the broader questions that arose from the controversy. "You never help solve any problem by not talking about it," one student told Post reporters Susan Kinzie and John Wagner. Wise words, indeed.

By Eva Rodriguez  | April 7, 2009; 1:57 PM ET
Categories:  Rodriguez  | Tags:  Eva Rodriguez  
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Comments

Alas, Ms. Eva Rodriguez pulls her punches also in this article.

She is critical of the U-Md administrators. But does she tell us their names? No. Why not hold them up to the shame they deserve.

Posted by: mhenner | April 7, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Oh please! Give us a break! I was a student at College Park in 1969-70 when there was a big hurrah over showing The Wild Bunch and I am Curious (Yellow). No progress in 30+ years?

Posted by: donnie6332 | April 7, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Viewing sex acts on film is "mature?" Give me a break.

Posted by: amazd | April 7, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Where he crossed the line was in using his public office -- and public funds -- to bully the school into submitting to his point of view.
____________________________________________
ROFL This sounds like regular old government to me. Except now with Obama, they'll be a whole lot more of it, along with meddling in business and what people should and shouldn't do.

Posted by: ekim53 | April 8, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Porn/Prayer are both 1st Amendment rights according to ACLU and Univ. of MD elitist group. Eva Rodriguez has no clue! It is time the ACLU was banned and get back to the purpose of education and not individuals political points of view.

Parents work hard for the money for these spoild brats to learn NOT dictate what is educational or not. On a second front why not get rid of these overpriced so called educators and hire real teachers for our children and future!

Posted by: AmerIndianTaxpayer | April 8, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

"No doubt some of the students showed up to see the film out of purely prurient interest. But several of them, when interviewed by The Post, demonstrated an understanding of the importance of going forward with the screening and discussing the broader questions that arose from the controversy. "You never help solve any problem by not talking about it," one student told Post reporters Susan Kinzie and John Wagner. Wise words, indeed."

Good god. "some" of the students?

And exactly what "problem" were they going to solve by watching a porn movie?

Liberal idiots never cease to amaze me.

Posted by: spamsux1 | April 8, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I think it is very selfish to criticize a film because it shows nudity or sexuality. I don't understand why it can't be shown if it is watched for academic purposes when all students are over 18 where they can watch the X-rated movie legally. The situation would be different if it was displayed to high school students who aren't all mature enough to take the film as part of learning curricular. Therefore, it would be a more mature choice to allow it in college where it wouldn't be parental issues because they are legal adults. I believe Senator Harris is abusing his powers by using public funds to persuade schools to support banning of the film. I feel it is wrong to make decisions bias when schools actually agree with the film but is overpowered with need of funds. Like the article mention schools should be entitled to academic freedom.

Posted by: bowieanika | April 8, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

It is hilarious that Rodriguez/The Post think so much of liberal politics that it supports publicly-funded pornography. What is wrong with you people? Do you really think these kids needed a porn film to discuss the impact of pornography on society? LMAO!! David Foster Wallace has an excellent essay on the porn industry in his book "Consider the Lobster." I'd like to suggest these kids read it, rather than watching XXX at taxpayers' expense.

The US is a vulgar country, period. It's not just greed that makes it so, it's the complete lack of manners and social grace--as well as the attitude that these things somehow prevent civilized society, when in fact, they hold it together.

Posted by: mclovin | April 9, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

p.s. It's not surprising that the rule of law is now under attack as well. You don't like a law? Just ignore it or work around it! Such progress!

Posted by: mclovin | April 9, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely ridiculous thinking. Viewing porn on college campuses is no act of maturity. BTW, this is not new. When I was in college in the 70's they would routinely have "erotic film festivals."

Liberals see the porn proliferation as a demonstration of tolerance and the sanctity of free speech. While on the same campuses try holding a conference discussing how Gays can be counseled to go straight. Or a Steven Emerson documentary on radical Islam in the US. Then let's see the maturity. Many of these schools that feature plenty of available porn have "speech codes" which if violated can result in possible expulsion. Sorry. This column needs to be followed up by a story on the sorry state of toleration and free speech on campuses nationwide.

Posted by: davidtalker | April 9, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

First of all, the film's showing was funded by the student union NOT "taxpayers". The criticisms for it were funded by taxpayers. Second, even if you disagree with pornography, at what point does a personal disagreement justify punitive restriction? I don't believe in prayer at school, but it isn't my right - nor anyone else's frankly - to tell you that you can't do it. Such as with watching porn.

This isn't about our society unfurling. You are all (along with that house rep.) overreacting. Let the kids see their movie for goodness sake.

Posted by: rgodwin | April 9, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

""You never help solve any problem by not talking about it," one student told Post reporters"

You do if the problem is too much talking about stuff.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 10, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Most conservatives, Republicans would probably disagree, but the majority of liberals, moderates would likely agree the Bush administration's torture policies, human rights abuses, invasion followed by occupation of Iraq on false premises, subversion of the checks and balances in the Constitution was far more obscene, revolting, disturbing, offensive, immoral than a mere film showing some naked human beings.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | April 10, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

So they decided NOT to show Saving Ryan's Privates?

Posted by: Tupac_Goldstein | April 10, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Since there is so much support here for free speech then I am sure there would be no problem screening "Birth of a Nation".
Certainly not P.C. but I am sure it would allow students to "talk about it". It could be moderated by the regional KKK leader to foster "spirited" discussion.
Seriously if this was a subject the left disapproved of it would never be seen.
Free speech on a university campus applies only to liberal points of view only.

Posted by: Tuerke9 | April 13, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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