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Java seems to have problems with hostnames that contain underscores: http://bugs.sun.com/bugdatabase/view_bug.do?bug_id=6587184
Actually its the RFC952 and RFC1123 which specify the syntax of the hostname. And as per those, underscore is not a valid character in the hostname.
The sys admin doesn't want to change (correct!) the hostname
I guess you will have to convince him because the hostname does not follow the RFC and might lead to other issues too http://smaftoul.wordpress.com/2009/04/14/hostname-and-underscore/. Until he changes the hostname, using the IP address would be an option.