The porn tax at Carnegie Mellon

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The Article

Dear President Cohon:

I just visited the webpage for your university ( and read your following message asking for support from alumni donors:

“Gifts from donors—corporations, foundations, alumni, friends, parents and others—will provide much-needed support to our endowment and our most important programs and facilities needs.

Your gifts will help us better support our most promising teachers and scholars. And they will enable us to compete more effectively with our peer institutions—the very best colleges and universities in the world.”

That was well-stated but I’m afraid you have a problem that could affect your fund-raising capabilities.

I just read a very disturbing report from your local CBS News affiliate (KDKA) indicating that more than 1,000 students at a time are showing up at the Carnegie Mellon campus auditorium to see movies with XXX ratings. Even more disturbing is the CBS report that these movies are all paid for with student fees.

Unless CBS is basing these accusations upon falsified documents, you are in a Rather unfortunate position.

According to the local CBS affiliate, there were also posters hung around campus inviting students to see a XXX movie. Unfortunately for your institution, the reports indicate that these posters were also funded with student activity money.

According to my sources, which have informed me in seemingly indisputable Microsoft Word documents, the movie “Pirates” was among the XXX films shown recently at Carnegie Mellon. “Pirates” is a hard core porn movie. The contents are too obscene to be described in this column. If you have read my columns before, you know that is really saying something.

Many events are held at the CMU student center, but I am told that none drew the crowd that “Pirates” recently drew. In fact, there were three sold out shows for the XXX rated movie.

Many of your students are upset that they have to pay fees that are used to support the showing of these XXX films. I am also told that Carnegie Mellon University has told objecting students that the university has no input over how these mandatory student activity fees (read: taxes) are spent. That is simply obscene.

While I am told that the university has said that hard core porn is not consistent with its values as a university community, I am also told that CMU asserts that its showing is not prohibited by university policy.

It sounds to me like you need to review your policies.

Fortunately, I am told that the university is taking a look at the issue of whether it can allow student organizations to show XXX movies on university property with the aid of student activity fee money.

But, today, I am writing to ask you to do more than take a serious look at the issue. I am asking you to abolish your mandatory student activity fees altogether.

Below, I have included full contact information for the Carnegie Mellon University office in charge of collecting alumni donations. I expect that some donors will soon be in touch to voice opinions on the issue.

I’ll check back with you soon to see how you are doing in your quest for “much-needed support to (y)our endowment and (y)our most important programs and facilities needs.”


Mike S. Adams

University Advancement
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
Phone: 412-268-2135
Fax: 412-268-2330
[email protected]


Mike S. Adams
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