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Computer Users’ Privileges and Responsibilities for Huntingdon College Computing Resources

Introduction

This policy is applicable to the access to computing resources at Huntingdon College. The policy reflects the ethical principles of the College community and indicates, in general terms, what privileges and responsibilities are characteristic of the College computing environment.

General Policies

Computer use is an essential part of many activities at Huntingdon College. The general policies regarding the resources provided by Huntingdon College are outlined below.

Access – Huntingdon College computing resources are provided in support of College-related activities and for the utilization and enjoyment of residential and commuter students. Use for academic and administrative purposes (such as research and/or preparation of assignments) is primary while all other uses are secondary. To this end access to the Huntingdon College network is managed and segmented in such a manner as to maximize availability for institutional administrative/academic purposes from 8 am to 5 p.m. and to provide enhanced availability for student academic and/or personal use at all other times. At all times Huntingdon issued machines receive priority over all personal devices. Personal networking devices (A connectivity device to which network cables are attached to form a network), such as hubs, routers or switches, are not permitted access to the College network. Huntingdon College allows reasonable personal use for activities such as internet surfing or game playing provided that such activity does not interfere with the primary purpose noted herein. Use for business purposes, or any other activity that produces personal financial gain, is strictly prohibited.

Security and Censorship

Anyone who uses a computer should be aware that the information stored in it is inherently insecure and that shared computing facilities presents security and confidentiality hazards that do not occur on a computer controlled solely by the user.

Censorship – Free expression of ideas and free access to the ideas of others is central to the academic process. System administrators are not censors and will not remove, because of its content, any information from computers unless the administrator finds that:

  • The information involves illegality [e.g., material that violates copyright laws, federal pornography laws, or licensing agreements], or,
  • The information endangers or impedes computing resources [e.g., a computer virus, worm, spyware or other destructive or intrusive program].

System administrators may remove any information defined above.

Responsibilities of the User

Access to Huntingdon College computing resources is a privilege to which all Huntingdon College faculty, students, and staff are entitled, much like the privilege of using the resources of the Houghton Memorial Library. Certain responsibilities accompany this privilege; understanding them is important for all computer users. These responsibilities are described below:

Security and Confidentiality – The user is responsible for correct and sufficient use of the tools provided by each computer system for maintaining the security and confidentiality of information stored on it. For example:

  • The user is ultimately responsible for the security and confidentiality of information stored in his or her computer.
  • Computer passwords are assigned to individual users and are not to be shared with others.
  • The user must not reveal his/her password deliberately or inadvertently, and must change it if there is reason to believe it has been compromised.
  • The user is responsible for understanding the level of protection each computer system automatically applies to files and must supplement it, if necessary, for information the user deems sensitive.
  • The user must be aware of computer spyware, viruses and other destructive programs and must take all reasonable steps to avoid being their victim or unwitting vector, including ensuring that all software programs used for protection (anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewalls) are updated on a regular (i.e., daily or weekly) basis.

Legal Usage – Huntingdon College computing resources may not be used for illegal purposes including, but not limited to:

  • Intentional or negligent destruction or damage to equipment, software, or data belonging to the College or to other users.
  • Intentional or negligent disruption or unauthorized monitoring of electronic communications.
  • Unauthorized downloading or copying of copyrighted material (e.g., using peer-to-peer software to download illegal copies of music, motion pictures or software).

Ethical Usage – Computing resources must be used in accordance with the high ethical standards of the College community. Examples of unethical use follow; some of them may also be illegal.

  • Unauthorized use or disclosure of computer access codes.
  • Net abuse: intentional use of computer facilities in ways that unnecessarily impede the computing activities of others. This includes the unsolicited e-mailing of the same message to a large number of individuals (spamming).
  • Using the computer facilities for private purposes or for personal profit.
  • Academic dishonesty (plagiarism, cheating.)
  • Violation of software license agreements.
  • Violation of Huntingdon College computer usage policies and/or regulations.
  • Violation of another user’s privacy.

The ethical standards of Huntingdon College demand the practice of collegial computing including:

  • Being sensitive to the public nature of computing facilities, even in the residence halls, and taking care not to deliberately display in such locations images, sounds, or messages which could create an atmosphere of discomfort or harassment for others.
  • Refraining from intentionally transmitting to others at any location inappropriate images, sounds, or messages which might be reasonably considered harassing.
  • Refraining from overuse of campus computer resources including printing facilities or network capacity.
  • Respecting the rights of other users by avoiding disruptive behavior. Information in electronic form must meet the same standards for distribution or display as if it was tangible. Users are free to publish their own opinions, but must not attempt to falsely attribute them to others. The creation, alteration, or deletion of any electronic information contained in, mailed to, or posted to, any computer or network will be considered forgery if it would be so considered on a tangible document or instrument.

Internet-based social networking services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow high school and college students to create new communities and to make choices about their own identities as they post information on the Web. The freedom to participate in these forums does not suggest that one can make choices without being aware of issues of civility and educational purpose. Because we live in a society in which expression is judged in legal, policy, and personal ways, it is important to remember that even the most innocent expression can have unexpected consequences. Once personal information, pictures, and video clips are posted on the Internet, that information remains available on the Web. Huntingdon College students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner befitting the College’s Honor Code in all educational and social arenas, including those on the Internet.

Huntingdon College Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Policy

“Peer-to-peer” computer software allows the end user to download and share music, movies, images, software, video, etc., with other users running the same software anywhere on the Internet. Because almost all of the content shared by “peer-to-peer” applications is in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and in most cases in violation of numerous copyright and federal pornography laws, and because they are a violation of Huntingdon College policy by saturating and monopolizing campus network resources with illegal activity, these applications are prohibited on the Huntingdon College Internet network. This means that:

  • Peer-to-peer file sharing applications including, but not limited to, Kazaa, Kazaa Lite, LimeWire, Ares, BitTorrent, and others, may not be installed or used on any Huntingdon College computer or allowed for use over the College’s network. This includes all computers owned by the College (the Huntingdon Plan computers), whether used on- or off-campus, as well as any student-owned computers on the Huntingdon College network.
  • The Huntingdon College Technology Services staff will, in order to ensure compliance with Huntingdon College policies and federal and state law, require that the prohibited software be removed from any computer attached to the Huntingdon College Internet network, or that the computer be permanently disconnected from the network.
  • To perform their assigned duties, Huntingdon College Technology Services staff installs and maintains software on all student computers that are connected to the campus network, which allows Staff to remotely troubleshoot connected devices and to ensure compliance with Huntingdon College policies. Violators of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with current Huntingdon College disciplinary policies.

Sanctions

Violations of the policies described in this document for legal and ethical use of computer facilities will be dealt with seriously. Violators will be subject to the normal disciplinary procedures of the College, which may result in, among other possible sanctions, suspension of Internet access or computing privileges.

Acknowledgments

This document is modeled upon and portions are, with permission, taken from Computer Users’ Privileges and Responsibilities, a publication of University Computing Services, Indiana University, Bloomington, copyright 1993 by the Trustees of Indiana University. Portions are adapted from 1992-1993 Guidelines for use of Campus and Network Computing Resources, Princeton University.

 

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