Yale students made a better version of their course catalogue. Then Yale shut it down.

A major challenge in registering for classes is working out schedule conflicts from overlapping classes, finding a solution that allows you to take the classes you need to take while sprinkling in courses you’d love to take or maximizing your sleep schedule. This is a complex problem with a lot of moving parts. Most universities offer, at best, some primitive calendaring solutions, even though the ability to optimize your schedule based on specified priorities is eminently solvable using software.

Two Yale students did their fellow students a huge solid by building a nice little system. It became quite popular. Then Yale shut them down.

As first reported by the Yale Daily News, representatives of the registrar’s office contacted Yu and Xu last week asking how they had obtained their data, with whose permission, and where it was hosted. Officials also expressed concerns that the site was making course evaluation information available to individuals not authorized to view the information. While the site required Yale credentials to log in, it did not have a way to sort between undergrad students and other members of the academic community. In later correspondence, the administration cited concerns about the prominence of evaluation information and unauthorized use of the words “Yale,” “Bluebook,” and the Yale logo.

At a meeting Friday, the brothers say they were told they needed to shut down the site due to these issues. “They seemed to be panicking a little bit about it,” Xu said in an interview. But the brothers countered with proposals aimed at addressing the university’s concerns and they rushed to implement changes over the weekend — including changing the name to CourseTable and adjusting how they displayed rating data. “We thought we could work out all of these issues,” says Xu, “up until Sunday night.”

Then, without further warning, Yale blocked the page from university networks — effectively cutting off students who intended to use their service to guide their shopping period.

Do the right thing here, Yale. Address this. These students should be lauded for their service work, not frozen out. This is potential egg on your face, easily avoided.