Schools and colleges online social networking site Bebo has been blocked from student use on the NUI Galway campus network. The virally addictive site, which has over 2,500 registered users in the NUI Galway group alone, was blocked due to overusage by students resulting in computers being unavailable for academic purposes.
Director of Computer Services at NUI Galway, Kieran Loftus, released this bulletin:
Access to Bebo.com
Tuesday, 14th of March, 2006
Bebo.com is a website which facilitates the exchange of personal information between teenagers and other young persons. Access to Bebo.com from University computers was restricted last Friday afternoon Friday March 10th 2006 in response to an substantial number of requests to Computer Services from students. Since we took this action we have received positive feedback on it from students.
The substance of these complaints was that students were becoming unable to access computers in the suites to do academic work because of widespread use of bebo.com, particularly its whiteboard drawing facility. The complaints extend to the use of the shared resources provided by the University’s network including its wireless network.
The University’s code of conduct for the use of computer resources states:
“University computing resources are provided to facilitate a person’s work as a member of staff or student of NUI Galway and/or for educational, training, or research purposes. Computing or network resources must not be used for any commercial or significant personal use.”
The code of conduct also states that
“The University reserves the right to limit, restrict or extend computing privileges and access to its information resources.”
The Code of Conduct is accepted by every student as part of the login process.
In taking this decision I have considered the need to protect the assets of the University, and to give priority to the needs of students undertaking their mainstream learning and examination preparation activities.
I am however very conscious of the argument that the use of ICT in this way might be defensible as part of a broader learning process. I have therefore asked to the Computer Services team to explore whether there might be opportunities to re-open access to bebo.com on a more restricted basis and in a way which does not impact on the needs of students to access learning resources on the University’s network. If such opportunities do exist, and can be delivered with minimum impact on other activities, then we will take appropriate action. In that event we will issue a further bulletin on this matter.
Director of Computer Services
Here’s a thread on boards.ie about Bebo being blocked in NUI Galway.