After an unprecedented amount of negative feedback regarding recent decisions to block YouTube and Facebook and create a login page for Pace’s public Wi-Fi network, the IT department decided to take action and announced a sweeping set of changes. Mr. Walker said bluntly: “After receiving so many complaints about the login page we instituted, we were faced with two options: either we could remove it and crash our bandwidth entirely because everyone’s iPhone and iPad would stay connected in the background, or we could eliminate the problem entirely. After careful consultation with the administration, we concluded that eliminating the network outright was the best solution.” The school will now only operate its private network for teachers’ laptops and any other preapproved devices. “In fact,” Mr. Sokolsky added, “we decided that being able to rove around campus with wireless connectivity detracted from the overall image of the school. What will visitors and prospective students think when they see groups of students wandering the halls staring at glowing rectangles all day like zombies? Instead, for the new building, we’ve decided to have super easy and fast ethernet hookups at public gathering places like the library, new commons areas, and water fountains.”
Their other decision was to begin blocking additional websites regarded as non-conducive to good scholarship, such as Wikipedia, Wolfram Alpha, and Yahoo! Answers. Mr. Sokolsky noted, “For a while now, we’ve tried to have a lenient attitude about these types of sites, but continued teacher protests have left us no choice but to increase our filtering for the sake of academic honesty and rigor.” Ms. Smith was particularly excited about the news: “It’s about time the school cracked down on these sleazes who think Wikipedia is a credible source. If the school didn’t block it, students wouldn’t even know Rousseau from Robespierre.” “We almost blocked this site called WebAssign that’s been cropping up lately on our web traffic, since we have overhead several conversations between students asking each other for answers on it,” Mr. DeRosa added. While students might have been briefly excited to hear that, the misunderstanding has been quickly corrected. It’s clear that these changes will be highly unpopular, but the tech guys seem resigned to a no-win situation.
By Simon Wu, Technology Editor ’12