I think it is interesting how Wikipedia is both glorified (seen as an amazingly democratic information resource) and villainized (seen as untrustworthy source never to be used for serious purposes). I actually went to a lecture during my freshman year at Fordham sponsored by the English department that instructed students never to use Wikipedia and how it was basically ruining the academic community.
I personally think that the site is great for quick background information (I had to write a short piece on investment liquidity last week at my internship- something I knew nothing about- and Wikipedia saved me). Other information resources online are not as organized and accessible, and other online encyclopedias charge for use. For longer research papers, I actually find myself beginning my research on Wikipedia. I obviously NEVER quote Wikipedia directly- instead I read the background it provides and then I refer to the primary source links at the bottom. These sources are often very reputable, contain great information and would not be easily located through a general Google search. I think academia's hesitance to embrace Wikipedia is understandable, but I think instead of banning it completely, they should teach students how to use it as a channel that leads to other information, information that often actually comes directly from their academic community.