Aberdeen have blocked porn in halls, and it’s the worst day of my life

Damn you to hell Eduroam

Saturday 13th January 2018, the day I returned to Aberdeen and learnt that the love died.

I've waddled my way back to the majestic Hillhead Campus, full of festive merriment and a £3.50 Tesco meal deal, I’m ready to get right back into the thick of it for another term of naughtiness, little did I know an almighty stramash had erupted. Eduroam has seemingly wiped any evidence of pornographic materials off the surface of the earth. For some reason the new year has inspired our internet overlords to deny us materials of the more salacious variety.

Image may contain: Person, People, Human

A Man has Needs

Before I had time to pop the kettle on, my fellows had informed me of this cataclysmic disaster. I was shaken to the core, as one would expect. The tears have been flowing ever since, but in a moment of respite I’ve had a little think about it.

This obviously seems a little trivial and I can understand many people won’t understand the sheer gravity of this event, but I think there is a real point to be made about how universities approach students' access to information. Why should a university determine what is appropriate content for their students to see? Universities are an educational institution, an environment where students should feel free to express themselves, to discover ideas and be exposed to new ideas regardless of how offensive they may deem them.

For a university to take it upon themselves to censor their students to certain materials, based on offence, really represents a moralistic arrogance which is unhealthy to a learning environment. Why was this issue not debated amongst the students? Why should the Head Honchos determine what I should be allowed to see?

Image may contain: Page, Text

Baby come Back

When speaking to the Student President of Aberdeen University he told me that "the contents of websites accessible and not accessible by the students and staff are directly under the control of the University" , and that "they are governed by terms and condition agreed to individually by students and staff". He personally agrees with the decision to block the more risqué websites. He says he will represent the views of the students if they were to complain, but hitherto has heard no complaints.

Jo Johnson, former Higher Education Minister, said in December that “universities are failing to protect freedom of speech and freedom of expression on campuses”. Could Aberdeen’s censorious behaviour be reflective of the wider trend across universities in this country to stifle and restrict debate? I don’t want to sound like a Sunday Times reader, but come on, chill your boots.

More
University of Aberdeen