It is not illegal to 'steal' abandoned property; what is abandonned is subject to interpretation. I would also point out that one thing not being learned at that university is frugality. When your kid goes there by him/her a hacksaw with a titanium blade.
"simply a front MTB wheel locked to the rack" Most likely the owner did not chain the bike and it was stolen. Another possibility is the owner of a very expensive bike is chaining parts in different locations.
2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
Strida 3, I recommend it for rides < 10mi wo steep hills.
2006 Rowbike 720 Sport, I recommend it as an exercise bike.
1996 Birdy, Recommend.
Wieleder CARiBIKE (folding), decent frame.