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Acceptable Use of Technology Resources

This policy is to guide users in the acceptable use of computer systems, networks and other information technology resources at Fitchburg State University (hereafter referred to as "Fitchburg State").

Scope

This policy applies to all students, faculty, and staff of Fitchburg State and to all other users who are granted access in any way to Fitchburg State electronic resources. It should be considered as complementary to the Student Code of Conduct, applicable Commonwealth and Federal law and other Fitchburg State polices, such as the Electronic Mail Services policy.

Summary

This policy is based on the principle that these systems and networks are provided to support University business and its mission of education, research and public service. Uses that threaten the integrity of the system, privacy or safety of others or are illegal are forbidden. This policy sets guidelines regarding the issues of privacy and respect for property, ownership of data, system security, and misuse of the system.

By using these electronic resources you assume personal responsibility for their appropriate use and agree to comply with this policy, other applicable University policies as well as Commonwealth and Federal laws and regulations.

User Responsibilities

General usage

  • Users are expected to use computer and network resources in a responsible manner. Users should take appropriate precautions to ensure the security of their passwords and prevent others from obtaining access to their resources.
  • Users may not encroach upon others' use of electronic resources. Examples include, but are not limited to, interference with or disruption of computer or network accounts or services, propagation of viruses, sending of electronic chain mail.
  • Users should understand that third parties may perceive anything produced, generated or published at Fitchburg State as having been under the auspices of the University. Accordingly, proper language and etiquette should be used.

The following behaviors are prohibited while using University technology resources or to resources in which Fitchburg State is connected or affiliated with:

  • Modifying system or network facilities, or attempting to crash systems or networks
  • Using, duplicating or transmitting copyrighted material without first obtaining the owner's permission, in any way that may reasonably be expected to constitute an infringement, or that exceeds the scope of a license, or violates other contracts is prohibited and may subject the user to civil and criminal liabilities.
  • The use of any peer to peer file sharing application (including Bit Torrent, Kazaa, LimeWire, Gnutella, etc.) is not permitted.
  • Tampering with software protections or restrictions placed on computer applications or files
  • Using University technology resources for personal for-profit purposes
  • Sending messages that are malicious or that a reasonable person would find to be harassing
  • The operation of any type of SMTP server or service
  • Subverting restrictions associated with computer accounts
  • Using technology resources to obtain unauthorized access to records, data, and other forms of information owned, used, possessed by, or pertaining to the University or individuals
  • Accessing another person's computer account without permission. Users may not supply false or misleading data, or improperly obtain another's password to gain access to computers or network systems, data or information. Obtaining access to an account name or password through the negligence or naiveté of another is considered to be a specifically prohibited use.
  • Intentionally introducing computer viruses, worms, Trojan Horses, or other rogue programs into information technology resources that belong to, are licensed to, or are leased by Fitchburg State or others
  • Physically damaging technology resources either purposefully or negligently
  • Using, or encouraging others to use, technology resources in any manner that would violate this or other University policies or any applicable state or federal law
  • Falsely reporting or accusing another of conduct that violates this policy, without a good faith basis for such an accusation

Policy Administration

The University encourages all members of its community to use electronic resources in a manner that is respectful of others. While respecting users' privacy to the fullest extent possible, the University reserves the right to examine any computer files or transmissions. The University reserves this right for bona fide purposes, including, but not limited to:

  • Enforcing polices against harassment and threats to the safety of individuals
  • Protecting against or limiting damage to University technology resources;
  • Complying with a court order, subpoena or other legally enforceable discovery request
  • Investigating and preventing the posting of proprietary software or electronic copies of texts, data, media or images in disregard of copyright, licenses, or other contractual or legal obligations or in violation of law
  • Safeguarding the integrity of computers, networks, software and data
  • Preserving information and data
  • Upgrading or maintaining technology resources
  • Protecting the University or its employees, students and representatives against liability or other potentially adverse consequences

The University may restrict the use of its computers and network systems when presented with evidence of violation of University policies, or federal or state laws, or when it is necessary to do so to protect the University against potential legal liability. The University reserves the right to limit access to its information technology resources, and to remove or limit access to material stored on University technology resources.

All users are expected to conduct themselves consistent with these responsibilities. Abuse of computing privileges may subject the user to disciplinary action as established by applicable University policies and/or civil penalties and fines.

  • Students who violate this policy may be subject to discipline and will be referred to that Office of Student Conduct, Mediation and Education.
  • Represented employees may be subject to discipline in accordance with the applicable collective bargaining agreement.
  • All others may be subject to discipline determined by the President.

The University and users must recognize that all members of the University community are bound by federal and state laws pertaining to civil rights, harassment, copyright, security and other statutes governing use of electronic media. This policy does not preclude enforcement under such laws.

 

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