You can blame my boss for this entry, because she came in to the office with a sheet of gold-foil stampy things--some kind of faux Easter seals or something--and asked me if I wrote letters. Because I'm always writing in a notebook, and it must be letters, right? So I told her no, I was writing a novel, and we laughed, and I told her about Nano and all. And she said, "Oh, you'll have to let me read it when you're done" and I said I would when it was published one day, and then she got a funny look on her face.
"You know, I don't care, but don't let anyone else know you're writing a book during working hours. Because if they found out, the college can claim intellectual rights to the book."
I've heard this before. The argument goes that since the writer is being paid for the job, everything they produce while being paid should belong to the employer. I've heard that some companies have even latched onto ideas that their employees have had, because the employees must have had the ideas on the job and therefore the employers own them. The ideas, not the employees. Although it's a fine line at that point.
So, can the college claim The Taste of Magic is their intellectual property? Will they? I don't know why they'd bother--it's a fantasy novel that isn't all that well written (I'd love to be a great writer, but I know I'm not and I'm okay with just being a writer who writes fun books with appealing characters), and mediocre fantasy novels are a dime a dozen. No, actually, they're free. Take one. I have a bunch.
But I'd rather burn the manuscript than let some entity claim it's theirs because I wrote it on the clock. And let's just split some hairs about that too. Sometimes I write on the clock. Most of the time I don't. Do parts of the book belong to the college and the rest belong to me? What about revisions? I always do revisions at home. The college is welcome to the rough draft--it's certainly not worth jack. And the characters, world, and most of the plot was invented at home on my own time. Some plot twists came to me at work, but plot twists are worthless on their own.
So no, I don't think the college, or any other entity, owns my books. I own my creative output no matter when or where it's produced. If the college dislikes me writing on the clock, they can fire me. They can't take my book.