Information Systems and Services

Computer and Network Policy

Introduction

Berea College is dedicated to a mission of learning, labor and service.  In support of this mission, the College provides access to information resources, including computer equipment, computer networks and telecommunications to its students, faculty and staff (collectively, the “College Community”).

The Berea College Computer and Network Policy (the “Policy”) contains the College’s policy and guidelines governing use of its Information Technology Resources by all members of the College Community.  “Information Technology Resources” means, without limitation, all computers, printers, scanners, networks, Internet portals, telecommunications equipment and lines, together with all other hardware and software owned or utilized by the College.  Information Technology Resources also includes any privately owned hardware or software which is connected to any of the College’s computers, hardware, networks or telecommunications equipment. The College expects each member of the College Community to use these resources responsibly, ethically, and in compliance with this Policy, state and federal laws, and all contractual obligations of the College and third parties with respect to any component of the College’s Information Technology Resources.

The use of Berea College’s Information Technology Resources is a privilege.  If a member of the College Community fails to comply with this Policy, relevant laws or contractual obligations, that member’s privilege to access and to use the College’s Information Technology Resources may be revoked.

By adopting this Policy, Berea College recognizes that all members of the College Community are bound not only by the Policy but also by state and federal laws relating to electronic media, copyrights, privacy and security.  Other College polices that relate to this Policy include the Berea College Student Handbook, the Berea College Faculty Handbook, and the Berea College Personnel Policy [staff] Handbook.  Each member of the College Community is expected to be familiar with the relevant policies. All questions of interpretation of this Policy should be addressed to the Chief Information Officer.

Objectives

This policy is intended to:

  • Maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of the College’s Information Technology Resources for all members of the College Community.
  • Promote an equitable sharing of resources among all authorized users.
  • Protect each individual’s privacy and freedom of expression.

At the same time, the College wishes to:

  • Encourage exploration and learning.
  • Help people learn how to become more self-sufficient in using computers and computer networks.
  • Provide information technology resources to support the educational, labor and service missions of the College.

General Use

  1. Any member of the College Community with a valid Berea College ID Card (a “User”) may use any of the computers in the student public access areas, except when these areas have been reserved.  Users may also apply for and receive a network mail account.  Temporary access to Information Technology Resources may also be extended on a limited basis to campus visitors.  The College reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to refuse access to its Information Technology Resources to any person who is not a member of the College Community.
  2. All Users are responsible for helping to maintain a sound computing environment. Acts which serve to degrade Information Technology Resources, whether deliberate or otherwise, are prohibited.  Berea College has the right to monitor, limit, or restrict specific technologies that disrupt or degrade Information Technology Resources.
  3. Information Technology Resources are made available primarily for academic and administrative activities.  Unauthorized use of Information Technology Resources for commercial purposes is prohibited.
  4. Academic use of Information Technology Resources takes precedence over non-academic use.
  5. Individuals should report any reasonable suspicion of computer security problems to the IS&S Service Center or the Director of Network Services.
  6. Software applications licensed by Berea College may not be copied except according to the applicable license agreement.  Illegal copying of licensed software is prohibited.
  7. The following statement was adopted by the Faculty on May 14, 1992 and forms an integral part of this Policy:

    Respect for intellectual labor and creativity is vital to academic Discourse and enterprise.  This principle applies to works of all authors and publishers in all media.  It encompasses respect for the right to acknowledgment, right to privacy, and right to determine the form and terms of publication and distribution.

    Because information stored on electronic media is volatile and easily reproduced, respect for the work and personal expression of others is especially critical in electronic environments, such as computer, VCR, etc.  As members of the academic community, we value the free exchange of ideas.  However, just as we do not tolerate plagiarism, we do not condone the unauthorized copying of software, including programs, personal files, applications, databases, and codes.  Violations will be handled in the same manner as all other acts of dishonesty.

    (Adapted from a statement developed by EDUCOM, an organization of over 2000 colleges and universities.)

  8. Current state and federal laws regarding obscenity and pornography, libel and slander, and misuse of the mails for threats and anonymous letters apply to electronic mail, Internet and bulletin boards.  Users are expected to use common courtesy, avoiding vulgarity, obscenity and profanity.
  9. The general codes of conduct for students and employees apply to all users of Information Technology Resources.
  10. Berea College reserves the right to limit or restrict any individual user’s access.  An Officer of the College or the Chief Information Officer may, without notice, authorize immediate removal of any data, file or system resource that may undermine the authorized use of the Information Technology Resources.

Electronic Communications

  1. When creating electronic messages, users should be conscious that electronic information is easily duplicated and may be shared widely.
  2. Using electronic communication for any form of harassment is prohibited.
  3. Initiating or continuing electronic chain letters is prohibited.  A chain letter is “a letter instructing the recipient to send out multiple copies so that its circulation increases in a geometrical progression as long as the instructions are followed.” (American Heritage Dictionary, 1995).
  4. Spamming is prohibited.  Spamming is defined as the act or acts of flooding mailboxes, bulletin boards and multiple mail lists with unsolicited messages.
  5. The purpose of local bulletin boards is to share campus-wide information.  Outdated messages not removed by the posting User will be removed by the administrator.
  6. There is one official Berea College web site http://www.berea.edu/ containing information about Berea College with links to departments’ and organizations’ resources.  Allocations of space for Internet resources (web sites, FTP servers, etc.) may be obtained by application to the Chief Information Officer.
  7. Technical resources placed on or connected to the College’s Information Technology Resources are subject to all other College policies, standards and procedures.  Copyrighted materials may not be displayed on the network or Internet resources without written permission from the copyright holders.

Freedom of Expression & Misconduct

Freedom of Expression and an open environment in which to pursue scholarly inquiry and share information are encouraged, supported and protected at Berea College. Censorship is not compatible with the goals of the College.  While the College rejects censorship, behavior that constitutes misconduct as defined in this policy will not be protected. It must be remembered that “misconduct” within the framework of the College’s Information Technology Resources may also constitute a violation of general college regulations and of state or federal law.

User Privacy

Unauthorized users are obviously not entitled to privacy within the framework of the College’s Information Technology Resources, but even among authorized users, any violation of this Computer and Network Policy may also suspend the right of privacy. In such instances, an Officer of the College or the Chief Information Officer may, without notice, authorize Information Systems and Services personnel to access or disable such User accounts or files. Users should also be aware that User accounts, files and information may be disclosed upon subpoena or order of a court of competent jurisdiction.

However, all authorized users (members of the College Community and others) are entitled to privacy in all their authorized use of the College’s Information Technology Resources. Each User identity, log-in name, account name, or any other User ID and associated password belongs to an individual, office or department.  No one should use a User identity, log-in name, any user ID, or account name and password without explicit permission from the owner thereof.  No one should use aliases, nicknames, pointers, or other electronic means to attempt to impersonate, redirect or confuse those who use the network.  No one should use aliases, nicknames, pointers, or other electronic means to capture information intended for others without the explicit permission of the intended recipient.  In order to protect his/her privacy, each User should accept responsibility for the appropriate use and dissemination of his or her user identity, log-in name, user ID, and account name and password.

Information Systems and Services personnel have access to files belonging to Users, but this access may be used only when it is essential for the maintenance of a system or the network itself.

Effective Date: April 26, 2001

Revision Date: June 14, 2005

Approved by: Campus Information Resource Committee

Submitted by: Bill Ramsay

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