If you don't know it, Subversion is a centralized version control system. Linear history, the non-transparent way to back up the master server, primitive merging interfaces and, the worst thing of all, the need to access the network for every single operation are unbearable facts.
Using a centralized VCS is like going back in time a million years. (Oh, excuse me, a million is too few.) I hate it! I recently went on a trip and didn't have Internet access neither on the plane nor on the hotel; do you know how cool it was to still have full access (not just the working copy, that is) to my code, documents and everything else? And even if you have Internet access, can you imagine how fast you can work without having to wait for the network?
Well, I can't really blame the administrators. As far as I can tell, they are not too familiar with VCSs and, when making a decision, they just went for what was everywhere, which unfortunately is Subversion is everywhere. Everybody is making that mistake in this department and university.
Let's see when I will have some free time to prepare a presentation about DVCSs (including Monotone as a case study) and give it to the whole department. Given today facts, I should do this as soon as possible.
Administrators, I know you are reading me. Don't take this the wrong way! ;-)