A Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Boar has revealed that the soon-to-launch tabloid has itself submitted FOI requests to the University in relation to traffic between the University network and porn websites.
Questions are being raised as to whether the Tab should be investigating this.
Nick Swain, President of Warwick’s Students’ Union, said: “There is much more going on at Warwick that is not just newsworthy but also entertaining to read.
“Student journalists should focus on these stories, which can of course be funny, that actually affect the lives of Warwick students rather than this form of silly sensationalism that ultimately means nothing.”
The University’s Head of Communications, Peter Dunn, said that this FOI request “would seem to fit the rather tabloid nature of this media outlet which of course is even reflected in its name”.
The FOI request, sent from Tab email addresses, asked whether specific porn sites had been visited using the campus network, including xhamster.com, spankwire.com, youporn.com, xvideos.com and redtube.com.
It is unconfirmed whether the University replied to the Tab’s request and the Tab were unavailable for comment.
The news comes after the Nottingham University edition of the Tab ran a similar story to discover how much pornography was being watched on campus over the summer. They claim uni staff watched porn 200 times every day.
Editor of the Boar, Natasha Clark, expressed dismay at the Tab‘s actions. She said: “This is not student journalism. Sending off FOI requests with the intention of invading the privacy of other students is exactly what gives the press a bad name.
“There are much more important and interesting things we should be focusing on and reporting on – it’s just not in the interest of students.”
However, one of the founders of the Tab Jack Rivlin defended the FOI requests. He told the Boar: “This joyless condemnation by the Warwick Student Union for simply asking a question baffles me.
“If you don’t think conferencing delegates watching porn in freshers’ bedrooms is interesting or funny, then you are under no pressure to read the Tab, but please take my personal advice and stop taking life quite so seriously.”
Warwick students are divided over the issue.
First-year Accounting and Finance student Preet Sinai suggested the request was a breach of privacy. He said: “I think it’s a bit invasive – people’s privacy should be respected.”
English student Lillian Hingley commented: “I believe it’s fine to discuss the issue in general, but not to target students at Warwick specifically.”
However, not all students are alarmed at the Tab’s investigation, including Politics student Greg Sallak who told the Boar: “It’s only porn!”
The Warwick Tab, which tells its readers to expect “fun and fast news, gossip and scandal” was expected to launch at the start of the year and is still yet to announce a date for publication.
The online-only newspaper will be part of a wave of new red-tops hitting UK universities. Oxford, Liverpool, Leeds and Cardiff all launched editions over the summer.