A UNIVERSITY of Newcastle student has been ‘‘counselled’’ after she was discovered using university resources to broadcast a live solo sex show from a campus library.
In October, university staff were warned about the ‘‘extremely inappropriate behaviour’’ of a student using the Auchmuty campus library to film and broadcast herself via live web camera shows.
The exhibitionist-themed shows were promoted on the social media site Twitter and linked to a separate ‘‘pay per view’’ site.
Staff were issued with a photo of the student, and told to inform security if they saw her.
Parts of the library were ordered to be steam cleaned after the incident.
A spokeswoman for the University of Newcastle confirmed it had been ‘‘very disappointed’’ to discover a student was ‘‘using internet facilities inappropriately on campus’’.
‘‘We have a code of conduct that clearly outlines the sorts of behaviours the university expects from its community on campus,’’ she said.
‘‘The matter has now been investigated and the student has been counselled.
‘‘An important part of our duty of care is to protect our students’ privacy and it would be inappropriate for the university to provide specific details in relation to the incident.’’
The live web camera shows – sometimes known as ‘‘camming’’ – are essentially an online peepshow, where performers set a per-minute rate for viewers, usually through a streaming service that takes a large – anything from 35 to 60per cent – cut of the profit.
It comes as financially desperate Newcastle students are reportedly resorting to using a number of informal online sex outlets to make ends meet.
At the end of 2013 there were 171 University of Newcastle students registered to a specialist online dating website called Seeking Arrangement that matches students with a ‘‘sugar daddy’’ to fund their education.
According to figures provided by the site, the University of Newcastle has the third highest number of members of tertiary institutes in Australia.
The Newcastle Herald has spoken to one man who uses the site, who said girls could make anything from $300 to $2000 for a day or weekend, ‘‘depending on the arrangement’’.
Simon, who didn’t want to give his last name, is 36, works in IT, and says his income is ‘‘150,000 plus’’.
He said dates could include anything as innocuous as a picnic or a movie, to more ‘‘intimate’’ services and extended trips together.
He said that although many of the women on the site worked like professional escorts, he said he liked the site because he could relate to women in ‘‘other ways’’ aside from just sex.
He lives in Sydney but works stretches in Newcastle where for the past two years, he said, he has had ‘‘mutually beneficial’’ relationships with at least five women.
‘‘Basically I’m on it because I’m looking for a good time,’’ he said.
‘‘I work long hours and long stretches and sometimes I’ve got a lot of downtime.
‘‘The type of girl who uses these sites is looking for an arrangement, as in, maybe they need help looking after their tuition, or they want to focus on their studies and don’t want to have to work a second job packing boxes.’’
Kylie Tattersall, chief executive of the Sex Workers Outreach Program, said it was ‘‘not new’’ for university students to utilise sex work.
‘‘For many students it’s a better option than a job in the hospitality industry; it’s higher paying, more flexible and less stressful,’’ she said.
And she said that, like other industries, the rise of the internet meant more opportunities for innovation.
‘‘Any industry needs to adapt to technological advances,’’ she said.
‘‘Like anything else the sex industry needs to recognise and embrace the shifts in technology that we have as a society.’’
Clare Swan, the president of the Newcastle University Students Association, said it was important to note that many students weren’t ‘‘forced’’ into sex work, but chose the profession.
However, she said financial stress was a factor for most students, and said there needed to be more support services for students who were struggling.
‘‘There does need to be more support services for students, but it’s important people understand sex workers can be there from choice,’’ she said.
She said most students had heard anecdotal accounts of students engaging in sex work.