University Control of Student Creativity

The British student who created a dating site for college libraries, FitFinder, has been fined and sanctioned by his university. The tool allowed users to send messages to attractive (fit) students they spotted in the library. Within a month, the website had presence at over 30 libraries. Some of the content was deemed vulgar by the university and the student’s graduation was put on hold and he was fined $500. The university felt the site brought the institution “into disrepute”. As students create more tools for networking at universities, I’m wondering if more universities will use academic and financial sanctions to shut down student-created social sites that may have unflattering content posted about the university. A list of some of the most popular student-created sites is included below. Imagine the impact on innovation if this one university’s actions become a trend.

  • WordPress-student at University of Houston
  • Facebook-student at Harvard University
  • Chatroulette-high school student in Moscow
  • Napster-student at Northeastern University
  • Mozilla-on a leave of absence from Stanford University