Background and Purpose: This document constitutes a University-wide policy for the appropriate use of all Friends University computing and network resources. It is intended to provide effective protection of individual users, as well as equitable access and proper management of those resources. These guidelines should be interpreted broadly and are intended to supplement, not replace, all existing laws, regulations, agreements and contracts, which currently apply to those resources.
Acceptable Usage Policy
General Policies and Procedures
Access to the Friends University networks and computer systems is a privilege and not a right. Access is granted subject to University policies and local, state and federal laws. The contents of all storage media owned or stored on University computing facilities are the property of the University. Appropriate use should always be legal and ethical, reflect academic honesty, conform to Community Life Standards and the mission of the institution as stated in the University catalog, and show restraint in the consumption of shared resources. Users should demonstrate respect for intellectual property rights; ownership of data; system security mechanisms; and individuals’ rights to privacy, freedom of speech, and freedom from intimidation, harassment, and annoyance. The University is not responsible for illegal, unacceptable or unethical use of the information technology environment, including computers and computer networks or electronic communication systems.
Authorized use of Friends University-owned computing and network resources is that which is consistent with the education, research and service mission of the University and with this policy. The University’s networks and computer systems are maintained for use by users in connection with University-related matters. Authorized users are any currently enrolled student, active or adjunct faculty member, and full-time or part-time employee. Each user will be authenticated periodically to verify these requirements. While the University will attempt to respect academic freedom in the use of its information technology environment to achieve academic objectives, any user may be denied access to these resources for any reason or for no reason. No denial of access shall be interpreted as any attempt to control academic freedom. It is the user’s responsibility to be aware of the potential for and possible effects of manipulating information, to understand the variable nature of electronically stored information, and to continuously verify the integrity and completeness of information. Users are responsible for the security and integrity of University information stored on University-owned equipment.
University Access and Disclosure
Authorized access to data or information entails both privilege and responsibility not only for the user, but also for the University. While the University will treat information stored on its equipment as confidential, the University cannot guarantee confidentiality of stored data. Users should be aware that use of one of the data networks, such as the Internet and electronic mail and messages, will not necessarily remain confidential from third parties outside the University in transit or on the destination computer system, as those data networks are configured to permit fairly easy access to transmissions. However, there is no expectation of privacy or confidentiality for documents and messages stored on University-owned equipment. Additionally, email and data stored on Friends University’s network of computers may be accessed by the University for the following purposes:
- Creating backup copies of media
- Troubleshooting unauthorized access and system misuse
- Retrieving business-related information
- Investigating reports of violation of this policy or local, state or federal law
- Complying with legal requests for information
- Rerouting or disposing of undeliverable mail
Users of electronic mail systems should be aware that, in addition to being subject to authorized access, electronic mail in its present form cannot be secured and is vulnerable to unauthorized access and modification by third parties. The University retains the right to monitor and restrict users for any reason, which degrades performance of the information technology environment. Because of the open nature of the Internet, the University cannot be held responsible for what content the user might encounter. The University reserves the right to inspect electronic mail usage by any person at any time without prior notice as deemed necessary to protect business-related concerns of the University to the full extent not expressly prohibited by applicable statutes.
Examples of Improper Use
Though not exhaustive, the following list is provided to emphasize that these activities are NOT allowed on the Friends University networks or computer systems: hacking; unauthorized use of facilities, account access codes, privilege or information; using the Internet for purposes outside of academic, administrative and research activities; any activity that violates the laws, regulations and rules, whether federal, state, local or University; willful destruction or damage to computers or data; unauthorized monitoring of communications equipment; violation of network security or attempts to break password restrictions; use of network or computer environment for private enterprise; any use for any private commercial enterprise, monetary gain or business outside of the University; use of another user’s password or any access code; use of electronic mail for the distribution of unsolicited information or advertising; violations of any software licenses or any copyright; violation of any person’s or entity’s right of privacy; creation or forwarding of chain letters; sending universal or spammed mail; defamation or any conduct that is offensive or threatening to any individual or group; accessing obscene, pornographic or hate-based material or web sites; accessing hacker or cracker material or sites; posting, sending or acquiring sexually explicit or sexually oriented material, hate-based material, and hacker-related material; creation, installation or spread of a computer virus of any type; attempting system crashes; sharing a user account with another; and unauthorized access to private information or any information belonging to another.
Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998
The Friends University Computer Network is a vital asset. It enables the academic and research activities of the various schools, divisions and faculties. It fosters informed communication with colleagues on campus and around the world and supports the community’s personal networking interests for alumni and former faculty. Access to the Friends Network is provided to faculty, staff, and students primarily to support these and other University mission-related endeavors.
An equally vital interest is Friends University’s compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA). The University prohibits the use of its computer network for illegal copyright activities. Federal law prohibits the reproduction, distribution, public display or public performance of copyrighted materials without permission of the copyright holder, except in accordance with fair use or other specifically applicable statutory exceptions. Friends may terminate network access for users who are found to have infringed the copyrights of others. Friends University complies fully with the DMCA and has in place the mandated process for controlling, receiving and tracking alleged incidents of copyright infringement.
The use of peer-to-peer (P2P) computer software for the purpose of distributing or receiving copyrighted material without legal licensing is prohibited. Examples of P2P software includes but is not limited to Bit-Torrent, LimeWire, Gnutella, eDonkey, and KaZaa. Friends University will not tolerate the downloading or sharing of copyrighted material, media, or intellectual property without the owner’s expressed and written permission.
Improper Use Penalties
The University retains the right to unilaterally limit access to the information technology environment for improper use or for any other reason. All procedures, hearings, evaluations and investigations are at the discretion of the University and need not be provided in any particular situation. Neither the following subsections nor this policy grant Users any right to access Friends University computers and network systems under its control or any right to a review by hearing or investigation when the University denies access to its information technology environment.
- Any violation of these policies should be reported to the head of the Information Technology department. If unavailable, report the violation to one of the following: VP of Administration and Finance or the President’s Office.
- In the situation of a student violation, the head of Student Affairs will be contacted for possible disciplinary action under these guidelines.
- Friends University recognizes the occasional use of networks and computer systems for personal matters, however this should be limited to no more than 10% of business usage per IRS rules and regulations. In the situation of employee violations, the Office of Human Resources will be contacted.
- Any employee who violates these policies may be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.
- Willful attempts to bypass security will bring immediate and indefinite termination of access to the information technology environment.
- Any User whose use of Friends University computers and network resources has been limited or terminated or has been denied use and desires to have such action reviewed, should make such request in writing to the head of the Information Technology Department.
Limitation of Liability
Although the University tries to provide a stable and accurate computing environment, from time to time hardware and/or software errors, or errors of other types may arise. The University does not warrant the accuracy of its computers, hardware, software, network, communication systems or any part of it, including documentation, advice or consultation. The University does not guarantee access to the information technology environment. The University shall not be liable for any incidental, consequential or actual damages, even if advised of the possibility thereof. In no event shall the University, or any employee or department, be liable for the failure to provide access to the information technology environment.