Did a university disable the Wi-Fi for protesting students?

Did a university disable the Wi-Fi for protesting students?

Summary: With a university occupied and a mass media following, a court order is being prepared to evict them. Did the university forcefully turned off the wireless to prevent further media coverage?

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Students protesting at the University of Kent by occupying a key building on campus have been disconnected from the wireless network, shortly after a court date was given to them for an eviction hearing.

The BBC report that while some students had returned home for the holidays, nearly a dozen students remain to occupy the Senate building over Christmas and New Year. Yet the wireless network service has been cut off to the building where the students are occupying, shortly after the court date was issued, leaving many to struggle to communicate with the outside world.

Because of the legal implications now involved in the occupying protest, students are no longer allowed access to the building and if a student leaves, they are not allowed to return. Food supplies will become limited and heating has also been turned off.

The occupation has a growing following on both Twitter and Facebook, with local celebrities and well-known personality, Alan Davies from BBC's QI programme with Stephen Fry lending his words of support. The lack of internet access to the building is causing difficulties to the students, who all continue study at the university, to communicate with the outside world.

One occupier told me:

"[Internet access] a big part of what keeps everyone going is the messages of solidarity from all over the place, mainly on Facebook and Twitter. Contacting the media is obviously almost impossible without the internet. There is no way to attain phone numbers to contact without it, and the internet is vital for keeping up-to-date with the news.

Updating the Twitter followers and Facebook fans of what's happening inside the occupationis obviously also really important, and impossible without the internet."

Since the start of their occupation, the group of students has received a large gathering of press coverage, ranging from television, radio, celebrity tweets and interactive services, including the BBC, local media and also here on CBS Interactive's ZDNet.com.

The wireless network across campus is fully working besides a partial outage in two buildings, and a distinct full outage in the occupied building. What leads to suggestion that the university has forcefully disabled wireless access in the building is no mention of an outage or maintenance work on the university's IT status page.

The cached by Google on the 21st December shows no issue and the up-to-date page at the time of publication still shows no outages. The university is due to close for the holiday season later today.

The occupation of the Senate building is of a long line of other similar action, in protest at the trebling of tuition fees in England, and is the last occupation of any other university or college in the United Kingdom.

Vice-chancellor Julia Goodfellow sparked controversy by signing a letter to the Telegraph supporting the decision to hike tuition fees, forcing students to repay a loan at the end of their studies totalling nearly £30,000. Though Goodfellow since "deplored the cuts to higher education funding" in a letter to local media, this did not offer solace to the students staying in the university building.

The university were unable for comment.

Do you think the university forcefully turned off the wireless to prevent further media coverage?

Topics: Mobility, Networking, Wi-Fi

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64 comments
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  • RE: Did a university disable the Wi-Fi for protesting students?

    "Forcefully" turned off WiFi? Don't you mean "intentionally?" Maybe it's a language difference.

    They have every right to turn WiFi off, as well as heat and water. Time to teach spoiled brats about the real world.
    Dorkyman
    • I am ignorant of this situation, but hear me out

      @Dorkyman

      I'm assuming that all this has to do with some rediculous price hike on student's college bills. So with this being my basis, you are saying that it is ok for a university to simply raise their prices whenever they like? I'm not sure where you are from, but where I come from (US) that's called price gouging. What is going to happen is the bills are going to get too high, students will leave, and the university will spiral out of control until it needs to shut down. It's not the student's fault that the University, or the government for that matter is too greedy to make education affordable. Any government, no matter where they are always take out funding on the most important thing, education. Well, when the entire planet dies because everyone is too fricken stupid for their own good, maybe then the governments will realize their mistake.
      KBot
      • RE: Did a university disable the Wi-Fi for protesting students?

        @KBot -You just explained market economics! It'sjust you are talking about two different things.
        walt3233@...
    • RE: Did a university disable the Wi-Fi for protesting students?

      @Dorkyman AMEN!!!-
      walt3233@...
    • RE: Did a university disable the Wi-Fi for protesting students?

      @Dorkyman "as well as heat and water. Time to teach spoiled brats about the real world".

      -Although the actions you suggest are familiar to those of us in the real world. It appears your ignorance blinds you to the purpose of the student?s actions. It is precisely their aim to change the way things are, and have been running, for the benefit of future generations of students.

      Perhaps you would you prefer to live in a world where people don?t give a fuck about those that follow them. Personally I would prefer students that follow me to have heat and water, but also an affordable, world class education and manageable debt. That is why we protest, and will continue to do so. Good luck in your ?world?.
      =anon=
    • RE: Did a university disable the Wi-Fi for protesting students?

      @Dorkyman "as well as heat and water. Time to teach spoiled brats about the real world".

      -Although the actions you suggest are familiar to those of us in the real world. It appears your ignorance blinds you to the purpose of the student?s actions. It is precisely their aim to change the way things are, and have been running, for the benefit of future generations of students.

      Perhaps you would you prefer to live in a world where people don?t care about those that follow them. Personally I would prefer students that follow me to have heat and water, but also an affordable, world class education and manageable debt. That is why we protest, and will continue to do so. Good luck in your ?world?.
      =anon=
  • RE: Did a university disable the Wi-Fi for protesting students?

    Yep, they sure did. I would too if I was in there position.
    mcfant
    • RE: Did a university disable the Wi-Fi for protesting students?

      @mcfant<br>Considering that the word is "their" it seems you might benefit from being in their position.
      Technically, it should also be "were" not "was" but that is a minor issue.
      DeusXMachina
      • RE: Did a university disable the Wi-Fi for protesting students?

        @DeusXMachina ooohhhh....good comeback <sarcasm>
        walt3233@...
  • RE: Did a university disable the Wi-Fi for protesting students?

    Whoops.......is that what that switch does?
    cowboy7381
  • Whiny, spoiled brats thinking the world owes them a living

    engage in lawless activity, and turning off wireless is the bad thing that happened? Personally, I would have had security frogmarch each one of them off the premises, then filed charges for tresspassing.
    frgough
    • they should have hired Appleland Security

      or the world wide loyalty team or whatever apple call them to put down this rebellion.

      people could learn a thing or 2 from apple
      Ron Bergundy
    • RE: Did a university disable the Wi-Fi for protesting students?

      @frgough And normally you're so nice? ;) It's not trespassing. It's their university.
      zwhittaker
      • RE: Did a university disable the Wi-Fi for protesting students?

        @zwhittaker Is it not trespassing to be inside a building after being asked to leave by the legal owners of the building?
        fooflington
      • Zack, it appears that you are laboring under the delusion that, just becaus

        @zwhittaker Zack, it appears that you are laboring under the delusion that, just because these miscreants pay for the privilege of attending this university, it makes it "theirs". It does NOT, anymore than renting an apartment makes it "yours". You are merely paying for the USE of the facilities and committing a criminal act in or on the premises terminates your rights for their use. The "legal owners" (the taxpayers, bond holders, etc.) and the people hired or appointed to run the facility have the authority and REQUIREMENT to maintain those facilities. Allowing this occupation to continue denies their use by other students that have legitimate need to be there.
        JTF243@...
      • Adult lesson number one. The British taxpayer funding

        your tuition makes the building theirs, not yours. So you get the hell out when they tell you to. And, I'm a very nice guy with no patience for whiny spoiled brats who need a belt taken to their backside.
        frgough
      • RE: Did a university disable the Wi-Fi for protesting students?

        @zwhittaker No Zack, it's not <i>their</i> University. They are students that attend the university--the students do not own it. Ones, let's not forget, that could very well find themselves expelled from said institution. One day, when you've grown up and lest the safe world of academia you'll understand.
        webmaster@...
      • RE: Did a university disable the Wi-Fi for protesting students?

        @fooflington

        If its a poublic university than the students own it. Hence the work "public"
        KBot
      • RE: Did a university disable the Wi-Fi for protesting students?

        @frgough
        Adult lesson number two:
        it is not the U.S., and that is not a private university. It most certainly IS theirs. Public funding makes it belong to the public. Last I checked, that included the students. Glad to see what your response would have been during the civil rights movement, though.

        @ JTF243
        Yeah, you might want to brush up on your landlord-tenant law there, buddy. Most states have implied warranties of habitability and dominion clauses. They are NOT just renting you use of the facilities.
        DeusXMachina
      • RE: Did a university disable the Wi-Fi for protesting students?

        @zwhittaker It's not "their" university. It is the taxpayers university.
        walt3233@...