Network changes block pornBy TORI BACHMAN-JOHNSON, News Editor
Students across campus are finding that their internet searches may be blocked due to sexually explicit content. Recently, Dr. Todd Gambill and the Student Government Association made the decision to block pornographic sites on the college’s network. ITS acquired a new program called Cymphonix, which deals with content filtering, bandwidth management, and application control. It allows ITS to see a break-down of the number of users on the internet in a variety of categories, such as gaming, sports and recreation, and porn, and enables them to block any of these categories. Dr. Gambill was informed by ITS that porn could be blocked and was sent some numbers from a Cymphonix bandwidth report. This report, which detailed internet usage over a week-long period in January, showed that 3.1 percent of internet usage was dedicated to porn, compared to online gaming, which constituted 0.2 percent overall. These numbers vary from week to week. According to a bandwidth report from Feb. 2 to Feb. 6, five percent of internet usage was dedicated to porn and 0.8 percent to online gaming.
In comparison, websites categorized as Arts and Entertainment constituted 7.5 percent of the total internet usage, Search Engines and Portals made up 11.5 percent, and the largest category, Computers and Internet (which includes e-mail and Facebook, among other things), made up 21.4 percent in the sample report. Cymphonix determines what is porn, just as the Barracuda program determines what is spam. After receiving this information, Dr. Gambill thought about the decision and asked the SGA for a recommendation. After they responded that porn should be blocked, Dr. Gambill spoke with ITS and the change was put into place. When asked why he made the decision to block porn, Dr. Gambill referenced management of the college’s resources, stating that bandwidth was a real consideration. “The internet resources are here to support the academic needs of the institution, ” he said, adding that porn is not an appropriate use of institutional resources. “There’s also an implicit value decision being made here, and I think it’s in line with the mission of the college… pornography is not something we want to endorse or embrace.”
Two students who met with Dr. Gambill, Juniors Jason Snider and Tyler Choate, shared concerns that the system was blocking websites they needed to access for academic purposes. Choate said that his ability to complete research for a psychology assignment about puberty and sexuality was hampered by the porn ban. Likewise, Snider, an art major, said that both professors and students in the department have had images that they needed for academic purposes blocked. “The goal is not to get in the way of academics, but it does,” said Snider, adding that the system has kinks that need to be worked out. Dr. Gambill’s response is to address these problems on an individual basis. ITS has the ability to override the system if certain sites are deemed acceptable, so if a student needs to access a blocked website for academic purposes, Dr. Gambill asks that they speak to a member of the faculty, who can contact him, and he will contact ITS. He stated that he does not want the new system to interfere with students’ ability to do their assignments, but also said, “I think we could agree that the lion’s share of that 3.1 percent [of internet usage that is considered porn] is not academic pursuits.”
Students with complaints that their internet has been slow since the porn blocking began should note that ITS has purchased increased internet service from Windstream. According to Associate Vice President of ITS, Grover Hibberd, there will be an upgrade from the current 21 Mb internet pipe to 65 Mb this year, which will occur in two phases. First, a 45 Mb service will be installed that will be dedicated to student use. The anticipated installation date for this service is sometime in April. Around Sept. 1, when the current service contract with AT&T expires, faculty, staff and student internet use will be combined onto one 65 Mb pipe. This upgrade will triple the existing internet capacity at a cost of $78,000.
CEP discusses significance of masksBy LEAH MCGRAY, Staff Writer
Father Norman, chaplain at Lexington Catholic High School, introduced a new kind of service to Georgetown College on Tuesday, February 24. The CEP began with a performance by the Georgetown College Step Team. As Norman Fischer approached the microphone, he had the audience repeat the phrase “God is good” followed by singing “The Saints,” a tune most anyone can recognize. The history of Fat Tuesday was elaborated upon in which terms such as “Lupercalia” and “shrove” were defined. After having given information regarding the significance of Tuesday, Father Norman delivered his message. “Our freedom was brought with a great prize…” People have abused this freedom by hiding from their sins behind a mask. But Fischer emphasized that even if “we choose to cover ourselves with mask it does not reflect Christ.”
A heartfelt appeal was sent out to all the students to replace their masks with their true identity and accept who and what they are rather than hide. As he began singing a version of “Beautiful Girls” by Sean Kingston to Norman’s own version of “Beautiful Lord,” the audience began snapping and humming along. Although the audience recognized the song, the lyrics were far more powerful than the beat. “So excited, the one who made a way for me…” Father Norman appealed to the audience through his implementation of modern pop culture but he also was sincere in guiding the audience in the right direction. Although we can laugh at a song, it is important to recognize the significance of what we do. God has a reason for all that he has done, whether it be from simply calling someone who we have not talked with in a long time, to our profession. There is a purpose behind it all; it is not simply “random” as Fischer stated. These are rather “God incidents.”
As nine students walked onto the stage wearing colorful masks, Fischer begins to address the idea that they are hidden but through the love of God they would be able to remove these masks and reveal their identities. “We can now be free from the pain of the masquerade.” Each removal represented a certain aspect that was important to understanding identities. Mask number one: Search for truth and justice, Mask number two: Removal of friendships that are not encouraging, Mask number three: Healing from an addiction, Mask number four: Hopes for peace in the world and in all hearts, Mask number five: Gratitude for blessing, Mask number six: To seek knowledge and understanding in college, Mask number seven: Establish better relationships with parents, Mask number eight: Develop a strong and deep relationship with Christ and Mask number nine: Ability to accept our strengths and weaknesses. As the CEP came to an end, Father Norman began singing another known tune, the recent hit of Jason Mraz, “I’m Yours.” “This love cannot wait, I’m yours…Look into your heart and you’ll find His love…”