April 9, 2019

Press Statement: Notre Dame Refuses to Block Graphic WiFi Content

April 9, 2019: For Immediate Release

Demands By Enough Is Enough® & the men of Notre Dame to Filter Porn and Child Porn from University's WiFi are Brushed-Off!

"We aren't backing down until our voices are heard and the safety of Notre Dame's students is put first."
-Donna Rice Hughes, President & CEO, Enough Is Enough®-

Great Falls, VA – Earlier this year, Enough Is Enough® (EIE) sent a letter to the University of Notre Dame’s President, Rev. John I. Jenkins, imploring him to heed the call of the courageous students requesting that the University filter its public WiFi from harmful pornography. EIE’s petition campaign had already garnered more than 10,500 signatories and was sent to both Jenkins and the University's Board of Fellows in support of the students. In response, Jenkins, sent a brief letter stating: “Although we do not believe a mandatory filter is the best solution for us, we are taking steps to encourage students and others to adopt filters voluntarily. Thank you for your thoughts on this matter.”

“It is disappointing that the University of Notre Dame is ignoring the persistent pleas of their students to filter the University’s public WiFi from pornography and child sex abuse images which is consistent with the call of Pope Francis to protect children from ‘extreme pornography......online trafficking...and live viewing acts of rape and violence against minors.’ By providing safe WiFi, the University can provide students a wholesome online and offline environment, stand up for the dignity of all people and honor the Pope’s Declaration of Rome,” stated Donna Rice Hughes, President & CEO of EIE. Hughes served as a delegate at the 2017 World Congress on Child Dignity in Rome. 

Notre Dame's seemingly dismissive response to EIE and Notre Dame’s students are concerning on many levels: 

  •  Jenkins is ignoring Pope Francis’ 2017 Declaration of Rome and the World Congress on Child Dignity in the Digital World’s Strategic Plan which provides recommendations preventing the sexual exploitation of children: “(Goal 11): To leaders of world governments, legislative bodies, private industry and religious institutions to advocate for and implement techniques to deny access by children and youth to internet content suitable only for adults: (Objective 3): To those who “offer free WiFi to urge them to voluntarily filter inappropriate internet material…”
  • The students’ demand for their own safety is being ignored. Sexual violence on campus is pervasive. 11.2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation among all graduate and undergraduate students; studies have found physical aggression in nearly 90% of pornography scenes reviewed, while nearly half (48.7%) contained verbal aggression. Viewing pornography plays a significant role in objectifying women, normalizing sexual assault and fueling sexually aggressive and destructive behavior.
  • A “voluntarily opt-in” suggestion is useless. Prosecutable pornography and illegal child pornography will still be readily accessible to students and faculty.

Notre Dame students launched their own petition last fall to filter pornography from the University’s WiFi, and asked others to join the more than 1,000 faculty and staff who had already pledged their support. “A decision to filter WiFi is a ’win-win’ for all and can offer a tremendous public relations opportunity for Notre Dame, while encouraging other universities to follow suit,” continued Hughes. “We aren’t backing down until our voices are heard and the safety of Notre Dame’s students is put first!” 

Enough Is Enough®’s petition can be found here