Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy
Earlham College provides a wide range of computing resources in order to support the educational mission and administration of the College. Information Technology Services (ITS) provides and maintains the campus backbone network, administrative servers, e-mail and web servers, public computing facilities, and institutionally-owned desktop and laptop computer systems.
The facilities of ITS have become an essential resource for academic, administrative and research processes for members of the College community. As such, all members of the College community are encouraged to use these resources, provided they respect the rights of others, abide by the rules and regulations of the College, and assume shared responsibility for safeguarding the College’s computing environment. Proper use is essential if all are to derive maximum benefit from them. Thus, ITS in conjunction with the Information Technology Policy Committee (ITPC), has developed this Acceptable Use Policy.
Because of the rapid evolution of computing and information networks, the College reserves the right to modify the text of these policies, with approval of ITPC. Users will be kept apprised of any changes.
Use of ITS resources is considered an agreement to abide by this policy. Users found in violation may be subject to penalties of varying degrees, including temporary or permanent denial of access to ITS resources and services. Violators may also be subject to action by campus, civil, or criminal judicial systems.
In making information technology resources available to all members of the College community, Earlham College affirms its commitment to a free and open educational environment, conducive to learning and governed by legal and ethical principles set forth in the Community Principles and Practices.
Earlham College values the free flow of information. The College respects individual privacy, civility, and intellectual property rights. Because an electronic environment is easily disrupted and electronic information is readily copied, users of the College’s resources are honor-bound to promote and protect these institutional values.
Under normal circumstances, College officials will not examine personal information transmitted over the network or stored on College-owned computers. However, the College reserves the right, to monitor system resources, including activity and accounts when:
- necessary to protect the integrity, security, or functionality of College computing resources
- an account or system is engaged in unusual or excessive activity
- it has good cause to believe that the Community Principles and Practices, rules outlined in this document, or the State or Federal laws are being violated.
Additionally, the normal operation and maintenance of the College’s computing resources requires the backup of data, the logging of activity, the monitoring of general usage patterns, and other such activities as may be necessary in order to provide desired services.
Access to computing resources and network capacity is a privilege which is given to all College faculty, staff and students are. (Access may be granted to other individuals affiliated with the College or College personnel, as situations warrant and with approval from the Chief Information Officer.) Certain responsibilities are associated with that privilege. These include those responsibilities listed below. Since no list can cover all possible circumstances, the spirit of this policy must be respected, namely: any action that hinders legitimate computer usage or invades the privacy of another person or institution is unacceptable.
Use of ITS Managed Labs
- All ITS managed labs, including those located in remote sites, are for the use of Earlham College students, faculty, and staff. Residents of Wayne County, and others, who use the college libraries are granted the privilege of using computers in the library for library research. No other uses of lab computers are permitted beyond the qualified groups above.
- Users must not abuse equipment and are asked to report any mistreatment or vandalism of computing or network facilities to ITS staff (Lilly Library lower level) or to Public Safety (x1400).
- Food and beverages (including water) are prohibited in all ITS managed computer labs, because of the potential harm to equipment.
- Users should relinquish the computer they are using if they are doing nonessential work when others are waiting for a computer to perform course-related activities. Equipment should not be monopolized. Users should not use more than one computer at a time and should plan work so that the computer session is no longer than absolutely necessary. Recreational game playing is not considered to be essential work.
- Users may not install software, alter system files, or disconnect any cables on computers or other equipment. If you encounter a problem with any of the public computing equipment, please report it to the HelpDesk <[email protected]> immediately.
- Viewing and printing sexually or violently explicit material may create a hostile environment for other lab users. In the spirit of Earlham’s Community Principles and Practices, users are expected to be considerate of others who are sharing the computing and printing facilities. If this interferes with Earlham course-related research, please consult with a staff member.
- Users are expected to respect other users and the staff of Information Technology Services. Verbal or physical abuse of others, student or staff, will not be tolerated.
- Users must respect all notices (such as those concerning hours of operation, printing, etc.) posted in ITS managed facilities.
- Users are expected to be prudent in their use of computer paper. The public printers are provided to assist students in their academic pursuit and nonacademic related printouts must be held to a minimum. If you need more than one copy, please print one copy and use a copier to duplicate.
- Information technology resources may not be used for illegal or harmful purposes, including:
- a. intentional harassment of others
- b. intentional destruction or damage to equipment, software, or data
- c. intentional disruption or unauthorized monitoring of electronic communications
- Software is normally distributed under three kinds of licenses: proprietary, public distribution, and shareware. Unless otherwise indicated, users should assume that all software made available by ITS is proprietary and may not be legally copied.
- ITS will not knowingly provide support for software that a user possesses in violation of its license agreement. ITS staff may ask for proof of license before helping users with their software.
- ITS will not knowingly allow pirated software to be used on Earlham-owned computers. When we suspect that illegal software is installed on a college owned computer, the user of the computer will be asked to provide proof of license. Failure to do so may result in the removal of the software.
- ITS will not knowingly allow use of its resources for the illegal copying of digital media.
Note: U.S. Copyright Law prohibits the unauthorized reproduction, adaptation, or distribution of sound recordings, including the unauthorized use of copyrighted mp3 files.
- Users should not use information technology resources, including personally-owned computers connected to the College network, for non-College, unsanctioned, commercial activity.
- Users should make no attempt to alter copyrighted software other than their own, or to duplicate copyrighted software intended only for execution except as allowed by fair use rights.
- Users should not interfere with, interrupt, or obstruct the ability of others to use the network or other ITS resources.
- Users should not provide, assist in, or gain unauthorized access to College computing or network resources.
- Users should not attempt to circumvent or defeat computer or network security measures.
- Account holders should use only their own personal accounts unless given permission by an authorized member of the faculty, administration, or professional staff to use one that is designated for a specific purpose or job. Account holders may not allow others to use their personal accounts. The person holding an account is responsible for its use, and all activity originating from that account, at all times.
- Account holders should protect their passwords and keep them confidential. Passwords should be changed frequently. Any problem resulting from irresponsible use of a password (e.g., a password that can be easily guessed or oral or written dissemination of a password) may be treated as grounds for action against the account holder. Any attempt to determine the passwords of other users is strictly prohibited.
- Account holders should not abuse any electronic mail, social media, blog, or communications system, either local or remote, by sending rude, obscene, or harassing messages (including chain letters) or by using these systems for nonessential purposes during the times when the computers are in heavy demand. Account holders should identify themselves clearly and accurately in all electronic communications, i.e., no anonymous postings. Unofficial mass e-mailings (i.e., spam) are prohibited.
- Account holders should use only their own files, those that have been designated as public, or those that have been made available to them with the knowledge and consent of the owner.
- Each user has network storage space available that is accessible through a variety of means. This storage space is backed up nightly and can be a safe, secure, and easy to access space for storing personal files. Because of space limitations, each user is expected to be reasonable in his or her use of this space. Users who store an excessive amount of material will be asked to remove these items to some form of removable media.
College Owned Housing Network
The following are responsibilities that are particularly applicable to Earlham students who have personally owned computers connected to the college network from a residence hall or college owned house, but may be pertinent to other users as well.
- Only computers that have been registered through DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) may be connected to the college network, unless otherwise authorized and established by ITS. Users must not attempt to circumvent this process.
- The person registered in DHCP as the owner of that registered computer system is responsible for that computer’s use, and all activity originating from that computer, at all times.
- Policy enforcement system software will be used to ensure that all computers connecting to the Earlham College network meet the following criteria:
- a. They must be kept up to date with the most recent security patches available for the operating system being used.
- b. They must have the Earlham provided anti-virus software package (currently Sophos) installed and configured to be updated from the central Earlham server.
- c. They must have an up-to-date spy-ware/ad-ware removal tool installed, if available for your operating system, and be scanned on a regular basis.
- Excessive or improper use of network resources that inhibits or interferes with use by others is prohibited and will be cause for action by ITS, which may include restricting, limiting, or disabling network access.
- Users who connect computers to the network that act as servers have the additional responsibility to respond to any use of their server that is found to be in violation of this Policy.
- In no case shall the following types of servers be connected to the network: DNS, DHCP, BOOTP, or any other server that manages network addresses.
- Access to FTP and Web Services running on servers located in the dorms will not be permitted from outside of the campus network.
- The College uses various measures to ensure the security of its computing resources. Users should be aware that the College cannot guarantee such security and should apply appropriate safeguards for their accounts, such as guarding their passwords and changing passwords regularly (required for e-mail accounts), and logging out of computers when done.
- Systems administrators of other departmental and individual computer systems are responsible for the security of information stored on those systems and for keeping those systems free from unauthorized access.
- The default protection setting on ITS servers is that all files, saved by a user in their network home directory, belong exclusively to the user. Unless the user changes the protection level, no file may be read, executed, or modified by other users without the users approval. The only exception to this understanding is that a designated member of the ITS staff may examine accounts or files of a user as directed by Senior Administration of the college.
- Personal files stored in group directories, public directories, and web folders are public files that can be viewed copied, or deleted by other users who may have access to those directories.
Disciplinary action for violations of this Policy will be determined under the guidelines set forth in the Community Principles and Practices and/or the appropriate employee Handbooks, and may include the following:
- Loss of computing privileges
- Disconnection from the network
- Earlham College Judicial Council action
- Prosecution under applicable civil or criminal laws