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Md. university votes against porn policy

Nov. 12, 2009 at 10:52 AM   |   Comments

ADELPHI, Md., Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Maryland's university system defied a legislative call to police campus pornography, saying the rule was indefensible and would prompt free-speech lawsuits.

A pornography policy would also place undue financial and administrative burdens on the system's campuses, the Board of Regents said in explaining its unanimous decision.

A report to the university system's Board of Regents from Chancellor William Kirwan said any policy "would put the universities in an untenable position and subject (them) to legal challenges."

The review said pornographic materials generally have constitutional protection unless they're deemed obscene -- and courts have declared "few, if any, films" obscene.

It pointed out that no other U.S. public university has a policy on pornographic displays, which "speaks volumes," the report said.

The Maryland university system is the nation's 12th largest, with more than 100,000 undergraduate and 30,000 graduate students and 8,700 faculty.

It was unclear if the regents' decision will bring reprisal from the state legislature, The Baltimore Sun reported Thursday.

The legislature had passed a non-binding resolution telling the system to come up with a policy by Dec. 1 but specified no potential penalties.

The move was prompted by a pornographic movie screening planned at the University of Maryland, College Park, last spring.

Republican State Sen. Andrew Harris threatened to deny state funds if the university allowed a full screening. Portions of the film were shown on campus instead, The Washington Post reported.

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