University Of Maryland Students Screen Porn Film To Protest Lawmaker's Threat

School administrators, student activists compromised by showing excerpts from 'Pirates II: Stagnetti's Revenge.'

About 200 University of Maryland students gathered to watch excerpts of a pornographic movie in a classroom on Monday, protesting against State Senator Andrew Harris' threat to block funding for the school if it screened the film.

The movie is called "Pirates II: Stagnetti's Revenge." It has screened for more than 2,000 college students on campuses including the University of California at Los Angeles, Northwestern University and Carnegie Mellon University, without incident.

Administrators at the University of Maryland and student activists reached a deal Monday afternoon to show a 30-minute clip of the film.

Several professors and a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union led a panel discussion beforehand about government censorship. Laughter erupted frequently during the roughly 30 minutes of excerpts that were shown.

State Senator Harris said he plans to introduce a bill that would require the University of Maryland to regulate pornography on campus or face losing its state funding.

The University issued a statement on the screening Monday, according to the Baltimore Sun, which reads:

"The University of Maryland is a diverse learning environment that respects the right of a free society to offer opinion, including opinions that may differ dramatically from the larger community.

"Last week, following cancellation of this movie as a university-sponsored event, we pointed out that we would explore other ways to return to the topics of responsible decision-making and effects of pornography in our society.

"On their own, student groups moved to create a discussion event during which they planned to screen excerpts from a pornographic film and to explore issues surrounding the place and implications of pornography and constitutionally protected free speech in our community.

"Although not condoning this movie or any excerpts from it that might be shown, the University of Maryland must allow this event, but has insisted that it include an educational component.

"For this event, the students have asked several of our nationally recognized faculty members, representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union, and other scholars to offer their views that will contribute to a full dialogue on these sensitive and controversial topics.

"Discussion on topics such as this are characteristic of a vibrant educational community."