Penn State: No Servers in Dorms [via LawGeek who has much more info here and here]
One of the most interesting parts of the day was a brief presentation by Russ Vaught, the Associate Vice Provost for IT at Penn State. He said that Penn State has a policy banning server software of all kinds from dormitory computers. No email servers; no web servers; no DNS servers; no chat servers; no servers of any kind. The policy is motivated by a fear that server software might be used to infringe copyrights.
This is a wrongheaded policy that undermines the basic educational mission of the university. As educators, we’re teaching our students to create, analyze, and disseminate ideas. We like nothing more than to see our students disseminating their ideas; and network servers are the greatest idea-disseminating technology ever invented. Keeping that technology away from our students is the last thing we should be doing.
Copyfight: Penn State v. Education? and Copyfighter’s Musings: More Copyright v. the University
Update: Note that the Penn State Residence Hall Network Connection Agreement (at the ResCom copyrights page) contradicts the assertions of the PSU vice provost (but see below — thanks, Donna!):
Acceptable Use Policy
Your Housing provided Network Connection uses resources that are shared with many other Penn State students, faculty, and staff. Moreover, your Network Connection provides access to the global Internet that is used by millions of other users. Each user benefits by being able to share resources and communicate almost effortlessly with other members of the user community. However, as with any community, the benefits and privileges available via your Network Connection, and the Internet in general, must be balanced with duties and responsibilities so that other users can also have a productive experience.
[...] While servers used in conjunction with your Network Connection are not explicitly prohibited, [emphasis added] it is important to note that servers may cause activity or generate bandwidth traffic that violates this Policy. Examples of these activities include, but are not limited to, running servers for mail, web, ftp, Napster, irc, dhcp, and multi-user interactive forums (such as gaming servers).
[...] Bandwidth Limitations (revised)
Bandwidth is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the capacity for data transfer of an electronic communication system.” All residence hall network connections share Internet bandwidth with each other and with the rest of the University system (computer labs and facilities, dial-in connections, and faculty/staff offices). In order to ensure that this shared resource is distributed equitably across the University, Housing and the Office of Telecommunications have implemented bandwidth restrictions that limit the amount of Internet resources that residence hall network connections can use.
[...] There are currently two individual bandwidth restrictions in place.
Each Network Connection is currently limited to uploading (sending) 1.5 gigabytes of data per week to sources outside of the psu.edu domain (to the Internet).
Each Network Connection is also currently limited to downloading (receiving) 1.5 gigabytes of data per week from sources outside of the psu.edu domain (from the Internet).
The current restrictions do not apply to data uploaded or downloaded to or from computers within the psu.edu domain–as long as the entire data path remains inside the psu.edu domain.
Update: Donna found this: Residence Hall Server Exception Request citing AD20
Penn State’s AD-20 policy on Computer and Network Security prohibits the use of servers within on-campus residence hall networks. Exceptions to allow servers in the Residence Hall network will only be granted in the rarest of circumstances. The need to operate a server must be in connection with academic coursework and endorsed in writing by a faculty member. The Vice Provost for Information Technology (or designee) must approve any request to operate a Residence Hall server.