ITS a problem

So, I’m a student at SUNY Polytechnic and I’ve had quite the experience with the Residential Life Organization (ResLife) and Information Technology Services (ITS).
I was running a Debian server as a NAS and general Linux SSH machine. During room inspection, I was warned of consequences if I were to violate the terms. One of the terms is I am required to register any “server os” with them prior to operation. This is a polytechnic school, formerly called “SUNYIT”, and there are a lot of students who run Linux-based operating systems on their laptops for class. Technically, the terms would count Android and OSX as well as any form of Linux a server. While I find this to be ridiculous, I registered my devices anyway, but they said they would send me a list of prohibited services… but nothing showed up in my inbox.

One morning I woke up to find out that my room’s ethernet jack was disabled. I submitted a ticket, and found out it was because I was running server software from my room. When I asked to meet to review acceptable usage policies I was reported to University Police and I had to give a legal statement to them that I wasn’t breaking any laws or doing anything malicious.

As of writing this, my ethernet is still down and they haven’t replied to my request to meet.

I’ve been keeping up my side of the terms of use, but they don’t seem to be. Have any of you had similar issues with university IT?

This is excessive and sounds like admin aboose.

I doubt they have any evidence of you doing anything malicious. But since you aren’t the admin on the network, you’ve done all you can aside from marching down to the IT room and speaking to them face-to-face(which is what I would do.)


Their campus, their rules. :man_shrugging:

M.I.T. will let you use Linux… As long as they have the root password. So it goes.

My advice: Set it up at your parents house and just remotely access it. Not sure why you’d have something like that on a college campus, anyway.


Funny, I did that once, just to meet the people ( as a Freshman), and they got mad at me for being in their corner and they posted a sign prohibiting students.

My parents’ place doesn’t have a reliable ISP, I tried that my second semester of college. I spend too much time on the phone trying to get everything back up and running. (The machine auto-boots after power loss.)

I ran into this in college. My IT department had a policy that defined a ‘server OS’ as one lacking a GUI.

I installed X, then promptly disabled it. Problem solved.

sed 's/root/toor/g' /etc/passwd

problem solved.



dot dot because a post has to be 5 chars

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Understandable if it’s their hardware, but otherwise, I’d tell them to go fuck themselves.


Oh I assumed it was just devices on their network

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Yeah, that’s my assumption as well.

I don’t know, because it wasn’t clear. @AnotherDev, can you clear this up?

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Anywho all this sounds strange; you should be able and allowed to plug in everything from grandpas underwear to quantum superprobes in every socket available, why discriminate?


If it’s your computer on the M.I.T. network, I believe they claim rights to the root account and the operating system.

Could be misremembering.


Looks like it’s just for the math department.

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I ran into a similar problem not too long ago. I live in Family/Graduate housing at my university. They charge me $70/mo for campus internet. It’s essentially just Charter 400mbps. I am prohibited from possessing (not even using) a router, or Ethernet switch. They provided me with a single Ethernet port in my entire apartment, but won’t let me use a switch. Additionally, there is a wireless access point in my bedroom, mounting to the ceiling, with a hideous Ethernet cable going up the wall, and a tag attached to it that says “Do not remove or threat of judicial action”. The campus Wi-Fi network is WPA2 enterprise, so half my devices don’t support it, and those that do can’t see each other on the network. Additionally, all of my devices are at risk of access by malicious parties when on this network.

I petitioned campus internet to be allowed to have a switch. They said no, because they couldn’t guarantee that it would be used for authorized purposes. I told them I needed more than one Ethernet port. They still said no. I told them I could just set up a virtual router and mask all my traffic through it, but that I was being polite instead and just asking for permission. No go. I was also informed I was not allowed to use a server on their network, even for local access. Additionally, I was told if I set up any kind of router, and hid the broadcast, they would “find it and shut it down”.

I noticed my unit was wired for Charter cable and phone. So I called Charter and asked them if they could install internet. The sales rep said no, my address wasn’t wired for internet. I then asked if they could install cable instead. When they got here, I asked the technician if they could install internet as well, and he put through the request for me and somehow got around the annoying sales rep saying no. Obviously, they’re all over the same coax, so the internet works.

The last step was the router. I plugged in my wireless router, set up the bands to avoid the ones that the campus internet was using (thankfully there were some open ones). I wasn’t sure whether I should broadcast signal or not. Obviously you can still detect it. However, after being bombarded by wireless printer networks everywhere I go on campus, I decided to just name it after a printer. So HP-Direct4205A is now my SSID…

So that’s my extremely frustrating story of how I had to deal with an annoying campus internet I didn’t want that had extremely arbitrary rules, and is arguably violating the FCCs stance on unrestricted wavelengths. I wish you luck, and I feel all of your pain.


From the sound of it you’re just simply handing off your computer to the Maths department. Are they really just that paranoid or was there something that caused these rules that I missed?

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I usually go to the dean and to the head of security in that case. I did this with many things at my college, not just the shitty it department.

Not one shenanigan was tolerated.

Do not, DO NOT, report you for stupid shit. Go to building security, one of the deans (my college actually had a dean of technologies, no idea for you), and campus security, explain the situation, and even let them have access to the machine to show why you are using external storage and ssh services. Then, request that any issues from it be reported in your inbox up front so that you can’t get screwed.

Personally for me, I had to do all this because I had problems with my renovo B575 actually dying at the time. So I was back on my hp nw8000, and since I couldn’t be online and running other apps at the same time, because it was a pentium 3 for the most part, I got used to lynx and some addons for it, as well as ssh’ing into my desktop in my room to take notes.

Now, not only were 2 of my teachers absolute progressitards, one harrassed me because I’m gay, the other harrassed me because I didn’t s, and don’t, play favorites. I don’t pony up to fucking anyone except my parents and my boyfriend. And because of this they tried absolutely everything to get me thrown out. A I was dangerous to their made up ideologies, B I was actually focused on doing my classes and got really pissed off when everything had to stop because my computer was on a tty.

At the same time IT was on my ass about intranet ssh for whatever reason, even though I was a CS major and allowed to have ssh. So I’m getting reports in my classes 3 times a week and IT keeps sending campus security to my room to try and steal my stuff.

Eventually enough was enough and I demanded to see the dean, campus security, and threatened to call the police for abuse and harrassment.

The one teacher got a suspension, the antigay one, and the other got a thrashing from the dean. IT was actually shit, like they were only referencing service manuals for people who didn’t know what right click was for. So most of them actually got fired. And that wasn’t because of only me, that was a bunch of people demanding inspection.

Remember, you’re paying these assholes. You’ru basically their employer. Don’t let them push you around, go kick their asses some. And if they kick you out, you don’t pay them and threaten court :slight_smile:


You could trying running an EC2

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That’s a bad sign of a school that isn’t interested in tech education. I got some very valuable first work experience working as a student for the college IT department. I was put in charge of several computer labs and even made purchasing recommendations when it was time to refresh and helped plan and roll them out with the rest of the student workers. I helped maintain a few servers and a VAX system, and of course did IT desktop support for the faculty. I was even allowed to run a personal server on the network as long as it didn’t cause harm to the network.

After graduation, I was then hired by the school full time immediately for the next half a year to help with rolling out network upgrades for the campus. I used this experience to get my foot in the door start my career. In fact I would say the education and experience I got from this was WAY more valuable than any class I ever took there. What I learned from experience was far more up to date and useful in real world applications for sure.


This sounds like my school just copied yours’ rules. Internet service is “complementary” so they can shut it off and I can’t do anything about it because I don’t pay for it.

This is quite inspirational, it gives me hope. I will absolutely try to go to the dean, but as far as security all we have is University Police.

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