March 11, 2004
Birmingham University tightens up its website policy

No time for prolonged thought about it, but this is interesting:

Academics at Birmingham University have condemned moves by the university authorities to ban 300 of their personal websites.

The university's decision to stop hosting staff websites on university computers follows a series of controversies over links to allegedly anti-semitic content.

As at many other universities, staff have been able to set up sites on a university server on any subject they like. Under new guidelines, from March 31 they will have to demonstrate that content is "relevant and legitimate to their academic or administrative work".

Instant, off top of head reaction: the University is quite within its rights. Here’s how the story ends:

A spokeswoman for the university said: "It is important that our website accurately reflects the business of the university. Personal websites that are relevant and legitimate to academic or administrative work are being re-registered through a process of peer review."

She added that staff were free to create websites using external internet service providers.

That seems to me the key line. A "ban" sounds more like they aren't free to do this. But, as always, I'd be interested to read any comments.

Further thought: although the University may be entitled to do this, maybe it is not wise. Universities ought to be havens of free speech etc. (Not that they ever are.)

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 06:18 PM
Category: The internet