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The recent article about the University of the District of Columbia (“Web Slight,” 4/15) contained several omissions and inaccuracies that might lead your reader to draw erroneous conclusions about the only public university in the nation’s capital. The university has installed virus-protection and Web-site-protection software, which provides filtering, primarily to protect the university computing network. This software prevents computer viruses and worms, spyware, and other malicious program code from getting into the university computer and disrupting the university’s ability to conduct business. We are here to teach and serve the students. If computer viruses get into the campus network, we lose critical instruction and learning time.
The secondary reason for Web filtering is to restrict access by university users to Web sites that are categorized as containing child pornography or similar content. Access to such objectionable sites via university Web access could easily be construed as a misuse of university facilities and a violation of the public trust. This is not to be interpreted as meaning that the Web sites referenced in the article fit into this category. After reading the statements regarding Web sites that were reportedly blocked, university administrators checked those sites from campus computers. We found that every site noted in the article as “blocked” was, in fact, available to be viewed.
The university maintains a policy that if anyone in the university community needs access to sites which he or she thinks may have been incorrectly filtered, he or she can submit a written request asking for review and appropriate action. Over the past year, the university’s Office of Information Technology has received no written requests for review. We hope, in airing these correct facts, that the readers of the City Paper will gain a better appreciation of the responsible stewardship exercised by the University of the District of Columbia in providing access to the varied offerings of the World Wide Web.
Chief Information Officer,University of the District of Columbia