Northern Illinois University is restricting students’ access to certain websites. For their own good, of course. The internet is a dangerous place, and we wouldn’t want students inadvertently coming across something controversial, now would we?
Students who attempt to visit an unauthorized site through the campus network are redirected to a creepy“Web Page Access Warning.” The “warning” is that the students are about to go somewhere that probably violates NIU internet policy. One student reported the policy to Reddit after he received a warning for trying to access the Westboro Bapist Church’s Wikipedia page. That’s right, its Wikipedia page.
NIU cites “common sense, decency, ethical use, civility, and security,” as its various rationales for the policy. Yes, a public institution of higher learning believes that it is just common sense—and ethical—to dissuade students from visiting websites deemed harmful by administrators.
Susan Kruth of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education writes that NIU’s internet policy is laughably unconstitutional: