A Younger Dershowitz Argues Porn Case

The nephew of outspoken Harvard Professor of Law Alan M. Dershowitz, MIT junior Adam Dershowitz, did his uncle proud last month by successfully challenging his school's policy on pornography, which he deliberately broke by showing a sexually explicit movie last February.

Dershowitz showed the porn film Deep Throat to a registration day audience last February in an attack on the pornography policy, which prohibits the presentation of sexually explicit films on registration day.

As a result of his protest, Dershowitz was brought before MIT's Committee on Discipline (COD), MIT's disciplinary body, this fall.

The COD decision stated that the "policy constitutes an excessive restraint on freedom of expression at MIT. This freedom is fundamental to the broader principal of academic freedom and cannot be duly abridged by the administration."

The disciplinary body unanimously voted the policy "inappropriate" for MIT.

The rule that prohibited showing unapproved sexually explicit films on registration day was formulated in response to a student tradition of showing pornographic films on that day.

In a civil liberties case similar to the one his nephew battled, Dershowitz the elder successfully defended two former Harvard students who were arrested for showing Deep Throat seven years ago in Quincy House to raise money to fix a broken movie screen.

The professor said that the decision to make the arrest came from the District Attorney's Office, and that Harvard does not have a porn policy similar to the one that the COD just overruled.

The foundation of both cases, Dershowitz said, is that even though some people find a film offensive, the flick "must not be censored," because if it is, then every film would have to be censored according to whether it offended anyone.

"I'm very proud of Adam," said Alan Dershowitz. "But it is important that you know that he came up with this idea on his own. He was fighting for the first amendment," he said.

"Adam was influenced by his very liberal upbringing as his father and uncle are civil liberties lawyers" and his cousin is in law school, the elder Dershowitz said.

"We have some attitudes and some liberal beliefs in common," said Adam, "and we both have this desire to go out and do something about a problem like the policy."

The nephew of the professor who won the Claus von Bulow appeal added that his uncle and he "are both pretty outspoken when comes down to issues that we believe in."

Despite his interest in law, Adam Dershowitz said that he is an aeronautical engineering major and not bound for law school.