Corporate entities trying to silence the voice of their users is a story you’ve heard again and again.
I featured the “Eat More Kale” story, the story about Bo Mueller-Moore in Chat Republic. So this story of two students being told by their college, Yale, that they had no right to come up with a better website for their school, rang a bell. Mueller-Moore was considered a trespasser; a pest. Harry Yu and Peter Xu (who designed what amounts to a replacement of Yale’s course selection website) were just end-users.
These are the kinds of people who end up receiving “cease-and-desist” letters. Just Google the phrase and you’ll see.
It took an online following and petitions to get the college dean to respond to the incident. But if you read her explanation, it is hardly apologetic. This triggered an online petition, which called it a “non-apology.” It explained:
We must let the Yale administration know that these tactics are not okay. The university has broken students’ trust by acting in a hostile way towards students who were providing a beneficial service to fellow students free of charge.
Three days later, Mary Miller, the dean, responded once more. This time with a bit more humanity. She (somewhat grudgingly) granted that “In the end, students can and will decide for themselves how much effort to invest in selecting their courses.”
An interesting modern fable that keeps being updated all the time.
If only the Yale folk had read up the Eat More Kale story!