I was a research scientist at the Supercomputer Computations Research Institute for 13 years. My biggest project at that time I released open source. So, I'm in favor of it, and I think it's a really good idea, but the reality is that public universities never get the funding that they need, because the public expects them to make up the difference. Sometimes they have to sell things to make up the difference.
I would love for universities to be funded properly. However, signing a petition demanding Open Source software is the same kind of naive thinking that people use when they vote for any politician who promises to lower taxes and don't care how this affects universities and the like, which is the reason that universities do this sort of thing.
Geeks don't have any excuse to be this thinking-impaired. If you want publically funded software to be free and Open Source, agitate to increase public funding.