Abuse of Computers and Network Systems

POLICY STATEMENT
 
All members of the Delta State University community must use electronic communications in a responsible manner. The University may restrict the use of its computers and network systems for electronic communications, in response to complaints presenting evidence of violations of other university policies or codes, or state or federal laws. Specifically, the university reserves the right to limit access to its networks through university-owned or other computers, and to remove or limit access to material posted on university-owned computers. The university reserves the right to limit access to its networks through university-owned or other computers, and to remove or limit access to material posted on university-owned computers.
 
DEFINITIONS
 
College/Unit Policy Officer: A person with responsibility for issues having broad-based policy implications for students, faculty, and staff in the college/unit; an Associate Dean or similar position.
 
Education Records: Records specifically related to a student and maintained by an educational institution or a party acting on its behalf. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 protects these records.
 
Electronic Communications: The use of computers and network systems in the communicating or posting of information or material by way of electronic mail, bulletin boards, or other such electronic tools.
 
Network Systems: Includes voice, video and data networks, switches, routers, wireless devices, and storage devices.
 
System or Network Administrator: A university employee responsible for managing the operation or operating system environments of computers or network systems, respectively.
 
University Computers and Network Systems (University Systems): Computers, networks, servers, and other similar devices that are administered by the university and for which the university is responsible. Throughout this policy, the shortened term "university systems" is used to mean all university computers and network systems.
 
PROCEDURES and RESPONSIBILITIES
 
The use of computers or network systems in no way exempts any member of the University community from the normal requirements of ethical or legal behavior in the Delta State community. In particular, data, software, and computer capacity have value and must be treated accordingly. Use of a computer and network system that is shared by many users imposes certain additional obligations.
 
Legitimate use of a computer or network system does not extend to whatever an individual is capable of doing with it. Although some rules are built into the system itself, these restrictions cannot limit completely what an individual can do or can see. In any event, each member of the community is responsible for his/her actions whether or not rules are built in, and whether or not they can be circumvented.
 
Members of the University community are expected to follow certain principles of behavior in making use of computers and network systems, in particular, to respect, and to observe policies and procedures governing:
  • the privacy of or other restrictions placed upon data or information stored in or transmitted across computers and network systems, even when that data or information is not securely protected;
  • an owner’s interest in proprietary software or other assets pertaining to computers or network systems, even when such software or assets are not securely protected;
  • the finite capacity of computers or network systems by limiting use of computers and network systems so as not to interfere unreasonably with the activity of other users.
Members of the University community also are expected to follow all other policies, rules, or procedures established to manage computers or network systems, including those established to control access to, or the use of, computer data, files, or other information.
 
Nuisance email or other online messages such as chain letters, obscene, harassing, or other unwelcome messages are prohibited. Those individuals connected with the distribution of such messages will be subject to the violation policies set forth in this policy. Violation may include immediate suspension of computer account and network access pending investigation of circumstances and may lead to eventual revocation of privileges. Serious violations will be referred directly to the appropriate University or outside authorities; unauthorized use of University computing facilities can be a criminal offense. The penalties may be as severe as suspension or dismissal from the University and/or criminal prosecution.
 
Bandwidth usage among students has increasingly become a nation-wide concern for everyone in American colleges and universities. On the one hand, faculty and administrative units must have ample bandwidth with which to pursue the mission of the institution. On the other hand, students, for whom Internet services have become both the means of education and entertainment, have good reasons also to be on line, especially when the university is their home.
 
Delta State University has proved no exception to the national trend. In order to accommodate the administration and faculty as well as dormitory users, DSU systems engineers reserve the right to make decisions to reduce dormitory bandwidth to a maximum percentage of university network capacity when such need arises. This restriction will be done with the knowledge and consent of the President’s Cabinet and under the supervision of the Executive Assistant to the President and Chief Information Officer.
 
The policy on “Abuse of Computers and Network Systems” explicitly states that the university, recognizing “the finite capacity of computers or network system,” may do so “by limiting use of computers and network systems so as not to interfere unreasonably with the activity of other users.” Please note, using bandwidth for legal purposes is not a violation of university policy, but university policy does require that the Office of Information Technology allocate that bandwidth usage appropriately and fairly.
 
All network devices (hubs, routers, switches, wireless access points) shall be managed by the Office of Information Technology (OIT) as property of Delta State University (DSU). The OIT will propose a wireless network plan to be followed by the campus community. Devices that are installed, other than those installed by OIT, may be subjected to being shut down. The OIT must maintain the integrity of the network in order to manage the quality of the service. Therefore “rogue” hubs, wireless APs, and switches will not be permitted. 
 
  • Violators of this policy will be dealt with according to the details outlined in the University’s Responsible Use of Electronic Communications policy.
  • Those who cannot accept these standards of behavior will be denied use of Delta State computers or network systems.
  • Violators may also be subject to penalties under University regulations and under state and federal laws.
RELATED DOCUMENTS
  • Policy on “Responsible Use of Electronic Communications”
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