Offensive material downloaded by hundreds of students and staff in universities and colleges

According to an investigation carried out by the Sunday Herald, academics, support staff and hundreds of students have downloaded pornography or racist and violent images using IT equipment belonging to education institutions:
"Since 2002, seven members of staff from some of the 58 further and higher education facilities in Scotland have been sacked, or have resigned, because of their actions. A further 15 university or college staff were suspended from their jobs, formally warned or received counselling.

More than 700 students have been found to have accessed inappropriate material while attending further or higher education, with 14 of them expelled or refused a qualification because of the incident.

A total of 658 students were given a formal warning by their educational institution after the downloads were detected, with many suspended from using IT facilities. The police launched investigations at four institutions following concerns raised by academic bosses about the nature of the material or because police had traced users to the education provider. This led to a number of students leaving their course after they were convicted.

The figures were revealed under the Freedom of Information Act. Only 12 of Scotland’s 58 colleges and universities had no incidents of staff or students attempting to download gratuitous material. The figures have triggered calls for colleges and universities to tighten their IT security networks."

The largest number of investigations has been carried out by Motherwell College and Inverness College: each reported more than 200 cases of students attempting to access inappropriate material since 2002. In most cases of IT misuse revealed to the Sunday Herald, students were given a verbal or written warning, along with a temporary or permanent ban from using IT equipment belonging to the institution.

Every university and college contacted by the Sunday Herald stressed that strong safeguards are in place through their IT filters to prevent inappropriate material being downloaded by staff or students and that breaches are routinely disciplined.

Hundreds of students and staff download offensive material (Sunday Herald, 12 March 2006)