Acceptable Use Policy

Effective Date:
December 15, 2014
Responsible Officers: Chief Information Officer, IT Infrastructure Manager

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1. Purpose 

The computing resources of the University support the educational, instructional, research, and administrative activities of the University. The use of these resources is a privilege that is extended to members of the University’s community. As a user of these services and facilities, you have access to valuable University resources, to sensitive data and to internal and external networks. Consequently, it is important for you to behave in a responsible, ethical and legal manner. 

In general, acceptable use means respecting the rights of other computer users, the integrity of the physical facilities and all pertinent licenses and contractual agreements. If an individual is found to be in violation of the Acceptable Use Policy, the University will take disciplinary action, including the restriction and possible loss of network privileges. A serious violation could result in more serious consequences, up to and including suspension or termination from the University. Individuals are also subject to federal, state and local laws governing many interactions that occur on the Internet. These policies and laws are subject to change as state and federal laws develop and change. This document establishes specific requirements for the use of all computing and network resources at the University.   

2. Scope 

This policy applies to all users of computing resources owned or managed by the University. Individuals covered by the policy include (but are not limited to) the University’s faculty and associate faculty, staff, students, alumni, guests or agents of the administration, external individuals and organizations acc essing network services via the University’s computing facilities. 

Computing resources include all University owned, licensed, or managed hardware and software, and use of the university network via a physical or wireless connection, regardless of the ownership of the computer or device connected to the network. 

Policy Definition 

As a member of the University community, the university provides you with the use of scholarly and/or work-related tools, including access to the Library, to certain computer systems, servers, software and databases, to the campus telephone and voice mail systems, and to the Internet. You have a reasonable expectation of unobstructed use of these tools, as outlined in the University’s Electronic Monitoring Policy (effective January 1, 2010), and of protection from abuse and intrusion by others sharing these resources. You can expect your right to access information and to express your opinion to be protected as it is for paper and other forms of non-electronic communication. In turn, you are responsible for knowing the regulations and policies of the University that apply to appropriate use of the University's technologies and resources. You are responsible for exercising good judgment in the use of the University's technological and information resources. Just because an action is technically possible does not mean that it is appropriate to perform that action. As a representative of the University community, you are expected to respect the University's good name in your electronic dealings with those outside the University. 

Acceptable Use 

  • You may use only the computers, computer accounts, and computer files for which you have authorization. 

  • You may not use another individual's account, or attempt to capture or guess other users' passwords. 

  • You are individually responsible for appropriate use of all resources assigned to you, including the computer, the network address or port, software and hardware. Therefore, you are accountable to the University for all use of such resources. As an authorized University user of resources, you may not enable unauthorized users to access the network by using a university computer or a personal computer that is connected to the university network. The university is bound by its contractual and license agreements respecting certain third party resources; you are expected to comply with all such agreements when using such resources. 

  • You should make a reasonable effort to protect your passwords and to secure resources against unauthorized use or access. You must configure hardware and software in a way that reasonably prevents unauthorized users from accessing the University’s network and computing resources. 

  • You must not attempt to access restricted portions of the network, an operating system, security software or other administrative applications without appropriate authorization by the system owner or administrator. 

  • You must comply with the policies and guidelines for any specific set of resources to which you have been granted access. When other policies are more restrictive than this policy, the more restrictive policy takes precedence. 

  • You must not use the University’s computing and/or network resources in conjunction with the execution of programs, software, processes, or automated transaction-based commands that are intended to disrupt (or that could reasonably be expected to disrupt) other computer or network users, or damage or degrade performance, software or hardware components of a system. 

  • On the University network and/or computing systems, do not use tools that are normally used to assess security or to attack computer systems or networks (e.g., password 'crackers,' vulnerability scanners, network sniffers, etc.) unless you have been specifically authorized to do so by the IT department. 

Fair Share of Resources 

  • The IT department, and other University departments which operate and maintain computers, network systems and servers, expect to maintain an acceptable level of performance and must assure that frivolous, excessive, or inappropriate use of the resources by one person or a few people does not degrade performance for others. The campus network, computer clusters, mail servers and other central computing resources are shared widely and are limited, requiring that resources be utilized with consideration for others who also use them. Therefore, the use of any automated processes to gain technical advantage over others in the University community is explicitly forbidden. 

    The University may choose to set limits on an individual's use of a resource through quotas, time limits, and other mechanisms to ensure that these resources can be used by anyone who needs them. 

Adherence with Federal, State, and Local Laws 

  • As a member of the University community, you are expected to uphold local ordinances and state and federal law. Some University guidelines related to use of technologies derive from that concern, including laws regarding license and copyright, and the protection of intellectual property. 

  • As a user of the University’s computing and network resources you must: 

    • Abide by all federal, state, and local laws. o Abide by all applicable copyright laws and licenses. The University has entered into legal agreements or contracts for many of our software and network resources which require each individual using them to comply with those agreements. 

Other Inappropriate Activities 

  • Use the University’s computing facilities and services for those activities that are consistent with the educational, research and public service mission of the University. Other prohibited activities include: 

    • Use of the University’s computing services and facilities for political purposes. 

    • Use of the University’s computing services and facilities for personal economic gain. 

Privacy and Personal Rights 

  • All users of the University's network and computing resources are expected to respect the privacy and personal rights of others. 

  • Do not access or copy another user's email, data, programs, or other files without the written permission of the University’s IT department. 

  • Be professional and respectful when using computing systems to communicate with others; the use of computing resources to libel, slander, or harass any other person is not allowed and could lead to university discipline as well as legal action by those who are the recipient of these actions. 

  • While the University does not generally monitor or limit content of information transmitted on the campus network, it reserves the right to access and review such information as outlined in the University Electronic Monitoring Policy (effective January 1, 2010). 

  • Access to files on University-owned equipment or information will only be approved by specific personnel when there is a valid reason to access those files. Authority to access user files can only come from the Chief Information Officer in conjunction with approvals from the CFO, VP of Human Resources or the President. External law enforcement agencies may request access to files through valid subpoenas and other legally binding requests. Information obtained in this manner can be admissible in legal proceedings or in a University hearing. 

 Privacy in Email 

  • While every effort is made to insure the privacy of University email users, this may not always be possible. In addition, since employees are granted use of electronic information systems and network services to conduct University business, there may be instances when the University, based on approval from authorized officers, reserves and retains the right to access and inspect stored information without the consent of the user. 

User Compliance 

  • When you use University computing services, and accept any University issued computing accounts, you agree to comply with this and all other computing related policies. You have the responsibility to keep up-to-date on changes in the computing environment, as published, using University electronic and print publication mechanisms, and to adapt to those changes as necessary.