A student was fined by his University and told his degree could be forfeit after he created a website enabling his peers to exchange flirty messages.Rich Martell, 21, was forced to pay £300 and take the site down after University College London (UCL) deemed that the website, FitFinder, brought the institution into disrepute.
The site, which allowed UCL students to flirt with each other online, reached five million hits within four weeks of opening and was soon spread to other universities.
Authorities at UCL deemed the website an undesirable distraction from academic work, and representatives of other universities also contacted UCL to complain about the site, The Times reported.
The final-year computer sciences student was told he could put his degree in jeopardy unless he disabled it. He reportedly described the action against him as harsh.
An online petition to reinstate the site had more than 4200 signatures on Sunday night. A message from Mr Martell on the web page said: "We have been placed under increasing pressure to take the website offline by Universities.
"Subsequently we have decided to remove FitFinder BUT we hope this is only temporary. PLEASE PLEASE sign our petition to being fitfinder back online! With your support we can be a nation of fitties once again!"
A University spokesman said: "UCL does not approve of or condone this site. UCL has no jurisdiction over it.
"We have, however, taken disciplinary action against the student for bringing the college into disrepute and he has been fined."