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Conditions of Use

The Office of Information Technology (IT) is responsible for the centrally managed information technology activities of Susquehanna University. It develops and provides services to benefit other segments of the University and to facilitate the success of decentralized information technology activities.

IT serves a large number and variety of users – faculty, staff, students, and outside clients. As members of the Susquehanna University community and in accordance with the overall policy in this area, all types of users have the responsibility to use IT's services in an effective, efficient, ethical, and legal manner.

Ethical and legal standards that apply to information technology resources derive directly from standards of common sense and common decency that apply to the use of any shared resource. IT depends first upon the spirit of mutual respect and cooperation that has been fostered at Susquehanna University to resolve differences and ameliorate problems that arise from time to time.

This statement on conditions of use is published in that spirit. The purpose of the statement is to promote the responsible, ethical, legal, and secure use of IT resources for the protection of all users.

Authorized Use

When you use ITs services, you agree to the following conditions:

  • To respect the privacy of other users; for example, you shall not intentionally seek information on, obtain copies of, or modify files, tapes, or passwords belonging to other users or the university, or represent others (i.e., log on as someone else), unless explicitly authorized to do so by those users.
  • To respect the legal protection provided by copyright and licensing of programs and data; for example, you shall not make copies of a licensed computer program to avoid paying additional license fees or to share with other users.
  • To respect the intended usage of accounts; for example, you shall use assigned accounts, transactions, data, and processes authorized by faculty, department heads, or project directors for the purposes specified, and shall not access or use other accounts, transactions, data, or processes unless explicitly authorized to do so by the authorizing personnel.
  • To respect the integrity of the system or network; for example, you shall not intentionally develop or use programs, transactions, data, or processes that harass other users or infiltrate the system or damage or alter the software or data components of a system. Alterations to any system or network software or data component shall be made only under specific instructions from authorized faculty, department heads, project directors, or management staff.
  • To respect the rights of other users; for example, you shall comply with all university policies regarding sexual, racial, and other forms of harassment, and you shall not divulge sensitive personal data concerning faculty, staff, or students to which you have access without explicit authorization to do so.
  • To adhere to all general university policies and procedures including, but not limited to, policies on proper use of information resources, information technology, and networks; acquisition, use, and disposal of university-owned computer equipment; use of telecommunications equipment; ethical and legal use of software; and ethical and legal use of administrative data.

The electronic mail system may not be used for the following:

  • Mass e-mail of any kind. A mass e-mail is defined as any e-mail or combination of e-mails sent to more that 50 recipients. The University Bulletin Board offers a web-based area for mass communication to the University community.
  • Chain letters.
  • Buying or selling items. The Electronic Newsletter and Bulletin Board offers a web-based area to post items for sale or items desired for purchase. Please note that no university resources may be used as part of a for-profit venture by any individual or group.
  • A request for or offer of a ride. The Electronic Newsletter and Bulletin Board offers a web-based area to request or offer rides.
  • Items lost or found. The Electronic Newsletter and Bulletin Board offers a web-based area to post items that have been lost or found.

These policies are established to assure access and ease of use for all in the University community. If a student fails to comply with these policies, his or her e-mail privileges will be revoked for two weeks. A second violation will result in revocation of e-mail privileges of two months, and a third violation will result in revocation of e-mail privileges for the remainder of the semester. A violation in the last week of the semester will result in the penalties being applied in the next semester. Any action that intentionally interferes with or harms the e-mail system will be dealt with as an attack on the University information technology system and receive much more stringent penalties.

In addition, other external networks to which Susquehanna University maintains connections (e.g., INTERNET) have established acceptable use standards. It is your responsibility to adhere to the standards of such networks. The University cannot and will not extend any protection to you should you violate the policies of an external network.

You should be aware that although IT provides and preserves security of files, account numbers, authorization codes, and passwords, security can be breached through actions or causes beyond the reasonable control of IT. You are urged, therefore, to safeguard your data, authorization codes, and passwords; to take full advantage of file security mechanisms built into the computing systems; to change your account password frequently; and to follow the security policies and procedures established to control access to and use of administrative data.

Violations of Conditions of Use

Violations of any of the above conditions are certainly unethical and may be violations of University policy or criminal offenses. You are expected to report to IT instances in which the above conditions have been or are being violated. When IT becomes aware of possible violations of these conditions, it will initiate an investigation. At the same time, in order to prevent further possible unauthorized activity, IT may suspend the authorization of computing services to the individual or account in question. In accordance with established University practices, policies and procedures, confirmation of unauthorized use of IT's resources may result in disciplinary review, expulsion from the University, termination of employment, legal action, or other disciplinary action.

Appropriate and Responsible Use

Computing resources shall be used in a manner consistent with the instruction, public service, research, and administrative objectives of the University, in general, and consistent with the specific objectives of the project or task for which such use was authorized, in particular. All uses inconsistent with these objectives, even if authorized, are considered to be inappropriate use and may jeopardize further authorization.

You are expected to use computing resources in a responsible and efficient manner. IT will provide guidance to help you use these resources efficiently and productively. If you use large amounts of computing and data processing resources, you are expected to refrain from engaging in deliberately wasteful practices – for example, printing large amounts of unnecessary listings, maintaining large numbers of unused files, or playing games for purely recreational purposes.

The pertinent consideration is the recognition that computing resources are finite. Therefore, you are expected to cooperate to the greatest extent possible in making these resources available to others.
IT's resources include systems for human interaction, such as messaging and conferencing. IT supports both freedom of expression in these media and the University's policies against racial, sexual, and other forms of harassment. Susquehanna University is committed to being a racially, ethnically, and religiously heterogeneous community.

Computer conferences in particular provide a vehicle through which the University's commitment can be realized, because they convene a very broad cross section of the community to discuss a wide range of issues, including those of bigotry, racism, and sexism. While using various media for electronic communication, you should be mindful of the impact of your contributions on the campus community. You should abide by the standards set for participant behavior in each conference you are in, as well as by standards of good citizenship and those described in University codes of conduct. Be mindful that you represent Susquehanna in outside conferences and that outside users will judge Susquehanna by your conduct.

Use of administrative data carries with it particular responsibilities for the security of data, userIDs, and passwords made available to access such data. As an administrative data user, you are responsible for properly safeguarding any administrative data which may be accessed by a terminal, personal computer, or any other distributed workstation. You should store data on storage media, such as floppy disks, in a secure environment consistent with the security classification of the data.

Your administrative userID defines the access authorization level appropriate for your job function, and you are considered responsible for all activity that occurs under your administrative userIDs and passwords. For this reason, you should not store userIDs and passwords in a microcomputer system, nor should you share your userIDs and passwords with others. You are also considered responsible for being aware of security policies and procedures relating to access and use of administrative data.

IT Responsibilities

IT has a responsibility to provide service in the most efficient manner while considering the needs of the total user community. At certain times, the process of carrying out these responsibilities may require special actions or intervention by the staff. At all other times, IT staff have no special rights above and beyond those of other users. IT shall make every effort to ensure that persons in positions of trust do not misuse computing resources or data or take advantage of their positions to access information not required in the performance of their duties.

IT prefers not to act as a disciplinary agency or to police activities. However, in cases of unauthorized, inappropriate, or irresponsible behavior, IT does reserve the right to take remedial action, commencing with an investigation of the possible abuse. In this connection, IT, with all due regard for the rights of privacy, shall have the authority to examine files, passwords, accounting information, printouts, tapes, or other material that may aid the investigation. Examination of your files must be authorized by the appropriate IT Senior Manager or designee. You, when requested, are expected to cooperate in such investigations. Failure to do so may be grounds for cancellation of access privileges.

You can direct questions about this conditions of use statement and reports of possible violations of the conditions of use to the IT Reception Desk (372-4252).

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