Northern Illinois University Demonstrates Supreme Stupidity, Bans Social Media, Political Content and Wikipedia
College is supposed to be a place of higher learning and where attendees are given their freedom to decide what they want to do. However, Northern Illinois University is restricting some of that freedom when it enacted an Acceptable Use Policy that bans torrents and denies students access to social media sites and content deemed “unethical” or “obscene.”
A student attending NIU posted about the policy, which was enacted on July 25, on reddit under the username darkf and how he had discovered the new policy when trying to access a Wikipedia page for the Westboro Baptist Church. Darkf posted a picture of the filter message he received, warning him that the page was categorized as “illegal or unethical.” While it appears that he could continue on to the webpage, the message also warned that such violations will be reviewed.
Yet it isn’t just Wikipedia that is being flagged. Students are prevented from accessing social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Flickr on university equipment though they can still access these sites from their own personal equipment. There are other policies however, that effect both university equipment and personal computers.
For example, anything that the university deems “obscene, defamatory, or considers a threat, including pornography” is restricted. Students can’t misrepresent their identity while using information technology resources but there is no further explanation on this point. Furthermore, there is a disturbing section about political activities that states, “Using the resources for political activities, including organizing or participating in any political meeting, rally, demonstration, soliciting contributions or votes, distributing material, surveying or polling for information connected to a political campaign, completing political surveys or polling information, and any other activities prohibited under the ethics act and/or other state/federal laws.”
Sounds like Northern Illinois University is a place we would all want to attend, right?