No iPad Ban at Cornell, George Washington, or Princeton

| iPad

So it turns out the iPad wasn’t banned at Cornell, George Washington, or Princeton, contrary to reports circulated earlier in April. The mixup began when a Wall Street Journal article reported that each of the above-mentioned universities was having network difficulties involving the iPad, and turned into misinformation when that was re-reported by mainstream newspapers and online-sites alike as some of the schools having banned the device.

Steve Wildstrom did the homework that the rest of us should have done, however, and actually dug into the issue. According to his research, which TMO has verified, the iPad is allowed at all three schools, but is facing some technical hurdles getting onto their networks.

George Washington University: The school’s iPad and Network Connectivity FAQ states, “No, the University has not banned the iPad.” The device can not access the network, however, due to the lack of VPN software needed to connect. The school has a pilot program in place to address the issue, and expects to have both the iPad and iPhone functional on the network “this summer.”

The school is also working on a broader solution that aimed at mobile users of multiple platforms outside of iPhone OS, “at full functionality by spring 2011.”

Princeton: Princeton’s situation is little more complex. The school has not banned the iPad as a class, but it had blocked individual iPads that have had two “malfunctions” when trying to connect to its network. From April 8th to April 19th, the university recommended that users not try to use their iPads, as the chance of such malfunctions were “extremely likely.”

“We understand why some would report that we had ‘banned’ the iPad from our network,” the school said in its FAQ. “But as the information above explains, the reality was somewhat different.”

On April 19th, the school published a temporary workaround that would allow some iPad users to get on the network, though those devices that continued to malfunction would continue to be blocked.

“If an iPad owner is able to operate the device in such a way that it does not malfunction (for example, by using the workaround we published),” the school said, “we do not block the device. Only those iPads which actually malfunction in such a way as to disrupt service are blocked.”

Cornell: It was The Cornell Sun that set the record straight for this university, reporting that not only has the school not banned the iPad, it hasn’t experienced any problems from the device on its network (the school paper’s article did erroneously report that the other two schools had banned the iPad). In the meanwhile, the iPad is available to students at the Cornell Store.

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Yes, it was sloppy journalism by WSJ. Princeton was plain and simple, they had blocked 9 individual iPads that weren’t properly refreshing DHCP addresses and releasing them.

It’s easy to see in the age of immediacy how the misinformation spread so fast. Fortunately, it did not seem to have what could have been a disastrous effect on the company’s stock.


Had the misreporting expanded, I doubt it would have affected Apple’s stock. People might have gotten a little attitude toward the schools for such perceived persnicketiness. Still, I’m glad to know that it’s just some IT hiccups and a bit of a learning curve.


Misinformation from the WSJ?! NOooooooo! Just another waste of trees.

Bryan Chaffin

Folks, the Journal got it pretty much right. It was the re-reporting that went astray.

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