CSU students banned from note-sharing site

Angela Ratzlaff, Contributing Writer

Notehall.com, a note-sharing website owned by textbook rental company Chegg, shut down its service to Cal State University students after its parent company received a cease-and-desist letter from the 23-campus system.

The CSU Office of General Counsel sent a cease-and-desist letter to Notehall on Jan. 4, citing violations of the California Education Code and the California Code of Regulation.

Notehall.com allows students to buy and sell notes online.

The letter asked the note-sharing website to stop selling and promoting its product in California and to stop marketing to CSU students.

CSU students who attempt to register with the website receive an error message that discusses the CSU’s Student Conduct Code.

“Unfortunately, No More Notes! The California State University Student Conduct Code prohibits students from selling class notes, and subjects violators to potential disciplinary action,” the message read. “Out of respect for this policy, Notehall does not offer its note taking services at your school. We apologize for the inconvenience, and share your disappointment with this CSU policy decision.”

CSU students can be charged with academic dishonesty if caught using note-sharing websites, such as Notehall.com, according to Erik Fallis, a CSU spokesman.

“CSU campuses handle claims against students, typically identified by a faculty member, through the CSU student code of conduct and the processes involved in any other instance of alleged academic dishonesty,” Fallis said.

When charged with academic dishonesty, students can face consequences including expulsion, suspension and/or withdrawal of a degree, according to California State Law.

Students shared mixed reactions when they first heard about the shutdown.

Angie Mondragon, a senior sociology and health science double major, said it could be useful to share notes online for students who are full-time workers and sometimes miss class.

“It would be better to do it with another classmate and create a network within the class … In regards to profit, it’s not the best thing,” Mondragon said.

Other students dismissed the concept of profiting from class notes.

“I would agree with it more if it were an open forum sharing website, but when it comes to monetary gain, it becomes questionable,” creative writing major Michael Iacoucci said.

Chegg, however, said it is fully compliant with California law.

“As states vary in their stance on activities like note taking, we are working to ensure that our services fall within what is acceptable from one state to the next,” Chegg Public Relations Manager Gita Chandra said.

Although Notehall.com is a subsidiary of Chegg, the textbook rental company will still keep good relations with 49er Shops.

Chegg is exclusively used for textbook rentals, and the University Bookstore does not have an affiliation with Notehall, according to 49er Shops Manager Rosa Hernandez-Henderson.

Notehall.com was not the first website to receive a cease-and-desist letter from the CSU.

In fall 2010, NoteUtopia received a similar letter.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Educaiton, the CSU sent the San Francisco-based company a cease-and-desist letter on Sept. 21, 2010.

The Chronicle also reported that the CSU sent out systemwide emails warning students that selling notes online violates the law and could result in expultion.

Ryan Stevens, a former Cal State Scaremento student and founder of NoteUtopia, told the Chronicle then that he thought note-sharing was a “students’ right issue.”

 


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