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Information Technology Services

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Policy for the Use of Computing Facilities at Alfred University

Responsible Use of Computing Resources

The computers and networks at Alfred University provide students, faculty and staff with powerful tools for communicating with others and for supporting our educational mission. When used appropriately, these tools can significantly enhance your experience at Alfred. Unlawful or inappropriate use, on the other hand, can infringe on the rights of others and may result in judicial proceedings and the suspension or loss of computing privileges.

The fundamental guiding principle for the use of computing resources at Alfred is respect for the rights of others.

A. User ID and Password Confidentiality: (Occasionally the ITS Helpdesk will ask you for your username or password to assist with account issues over the phone or in person. In all other situations you should follow the guidelines below)

1. Users are responsible for safeguarding their User IDs and Passwords.

2. Never share your User ID or Password with anyone.

3. Never use anyone else's User ID or Password.

4. Users are responsible for anything sent or created using their User ID and Password.

5. Users may not disguise or falsify their identity when using University resources and networks.

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B. Expectation of Privacy:

1. Alfred University computer users can expect reasonable confidentiality in the messages they receive and the files they create. Information Technology Services personnel do not routinely monitor an individual's computer use, nor do they routinely examine files or read electronic mail in an individual's account, or review any content on web pages accessible through the University's website. However, Information Technology Services staff is responsible for responding to alleged abuses and has the right to investigate suspected offenses, to suspend or revoke computing privileges, or to remove or deny access to any content it deems objectionable or illegal.

2. System administrators have the right, but not the obligation, to monitor system and network activities to ensure optimal performance and integrity.

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C. Prohibited Activities:

1. Unauthorized access:

  • Users may not access (e.g. read, copy, alter, or delete) anyone else's files, electronic communications, USB drives, printouts, etc. without specific authorization from that user.
  • Users may not try to access another user's account or attempt to guess or "crack" someone's User ID or Password.

2. Interfering with the activities of others:

  • Users may not modify, disable, or tamper with any files, software programs or equipment (computers, furniture, printers, manuals) provided by Alfred University, or attempt to bypass security measures in place on the University system or the resources to which it connects.
  • Academic work takes priority over personal and recreational use in computer laboratories and the libraries.

    3. Harassment:

  • Users may not use University resources to send material that is fraudulent, profane, obscene, intimidating, threatening, defamatory, abusive, offensive, or otherwise unlawful or inappropriate.

    4. Unauthorized use:

  • Users may not use University computing resources or networks for personal gain, commercial or profit-making purposes unless specifically authorized to do so by the appropriate University official.
  • Users may not use University resources or networks for political campaigning, personal statements or unauthorized solicitation.

    5. Wasteful or frivolous use: Any wasteful or frivolous uses of computing facilities and resources are prohibited. Examples of such uses include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Chain mail – chain mail usually contains phrases such as "pass this on," "forward – don't delete," "don't break the chain," etc. Don't fall for it; don't forward it, it is chain mail.
  • Mass mail – mass mail through the Exchange distribution lists is only for announcements of an immediate nature. Access is only available through college Deans, Vice Presidents, and select directors who oversee areas such as campus safety, security, and telecommunications.
  • Virus hoaxes – virus hoaxes on the Internet are widespread. Before warning others about a virus, check its authenticity with the Helpdesk 607.871.2222.
  • Creating unnecessary network traffic, for example, chain mail, spamming, network scanning or probing.

    6. Illegal use: Examples of illegal uses include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Illegal copying – contrary to popular belief, materials found on the Internet, including text, digital images, trademarks, videos and digital audio files (e.g. MP3 format) are typically protected by copyright. You should always have permission to use any material you did not create. "Fair use" of web-related copyrighted material may be allowed under certain circumstances. Librarians at Herrick or Scholes Libraries can assist you in determining "fair use."

Special note regarding digital music and sound recordings on the Internet: The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) takes the unauthorized use of music and sound recordings on the Internet very seriously. The bottom line is that sound recordings are typically protected by copyright, and copyright infringement (including unlawful uploading and downloading of music files) is against the law. Penalties are stiff (up to $250,000 in fines).

Some Examples of Prohibited Illegal Activity:

  • Software piracy – software is protected by copyright law and unlawful copying of software is illegal.
  • Tapping phone or network lines.
  • Forgery – sending email in someone else's name.
  • Child pornography – uploading or downloading this material is a federal offense.
  • Distribution of pornography to minors.
  • Obscenity – may not be used in mail headers, computer names, file names, personal/organizational web pages or any other output on University-owned computers or systems.
  • Bomb threats and hoaxes – it is illegal to send a message via email that threatens other persons or property. Federal authorities may investigate these messages.

D.  Communication

Email and Alfred Today are Official Communication Formats of Alfred University

In keeping with the August 18, 2005 directive from President Edmondson, email is an official means of communication at Alfred University. This formal statement establishes electronic mail as a proper and legal means of reaching the entire University community. It serves notice that everyone on campus is responsible for being aware of official information communicated electronically.

All faculty, students and staff are expected to review their Alfred email and Alfred Today regularly and respond as needed to those communications. Alfred Today is the daily bulletin of campus announcements and events and is distributed via Alfred email and website.

In addition, all faculty, students and staff (in cooperation with ITS) are expected to keep their email accounts in working order, so that they can both send and receive email communication.

Email is used to communicate academic, employee, and administrative information.

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E. Enforcement:

Abuse of Alfred University computing resources and networks, or behavior that violates University policy or local, state or federal laws may result in temporary or permanent suspension of computing privileges, disciplinary action by the University and/or liability under applicable civil or criminal laws.

Information Technology Services reserves the right to prohibit unauthorized activities that disrupt network services.

Abuses and infringements under the Alfred University Responsible Use of Computing Resources Policy should be reported to the Director of Information Technology Services or the Information Technology Services Helpdesk @ 607.871.2222.

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As the technological landscape changes, portions of this policy may change without notification.  It is the responsibility of all campus users to regularly review and adhere to this policy.