California College Loses Second Life for a Second Time

Woodbury University has been booted off the popular Second Life virtual world--again.


Second Life is a world of its own. It's a virtual universe that allows participants to operate cyber versions of themselves. A lot of colleges use Second Life for myriad purposes, from online classes to research projects. 

It was a pretty big deal, then, when Woodbury University, a small school in Burbank, Calif., got booted off Second Life for the second time in four years on Tuesday, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports. Woodbury was kicked out the first time in 2007. Linden Labs, which owns and oversees Second Life, didn't give a specific reason for the ban, but the Chronicle story suggests that it had to do with accusations of vandalism and Woodbury's ongoing dispute with another group on Second Life. 

"Linden Lab has decided to no longer support Woodbury University in Second Life," said an E-mail notice from Linden Labs sent to Edward Clift, the dean of media, culture and design at Woodbury. "We are making this decision based on historical and recent events that constitute a breach of the Second Life community standards and terms of service. We ask that you please respect the decision and do not take part in the Second Life platform in the future." 

Woodbury was originally kicked out of the virtual world for ignoring Linden Labs' warnings to control digital characters affiliated with the school's virtual region. Those characters were involved in some "disruptive and hostile behavior." 

Either way, Woodbury is disappointed by the decision. Clift says Woodbury doesn't support vandalism or any other kind of misbehavior, but he did acknowledge that Woodbury's "virtual campus" didn't comply with what Linden Labs preferred for college campuses on Second Life. Clift tells the Chronicle that Woodbury wants a more open facility for students and faculty than the traditional setup, which often featured online lecture halls. 

"Woodbury is sick of this," Clift tells the Chronicle. "Our brand is being maligned, and our 125-year mission is being trampled on." 

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