IT Policies

Computing Resources Acceptable Use Policy

Alvernia University provides a wide-ranging variety of computer resources to help students, faculty, and staff complete their work. Network connectivity has become crucial for the successful completion of many academic, research, and institutional objectives, and it is incumbent on users to recognize and respect the need for all members of the Alvernia community to access these resources. To this end, the “Acceptable Use Policy” has been established to help ensure these benefits are fairly available to the entire campus community.

The Acceptable Use Policy enumerates the rules that apply to all users of the Alvernia University CampusNetwork, and University issued and maintained computing equipment and devices. The Campus Network refers to all computing resources provided by the University, including computers, servers, and network peripherals such as printers, scanners, and copiers, connected through a high speed backbone to each other and the Internet, plus the programs and services hosted by or, contracted through the University for use by the University community. All members of the campus community and guests are expected to follow these rules, encourage others to do the same, and to report violations.

Alvernia University reserves the right to suspend computing privileges and remove inappropriate materials from the Campus Network. The Acceptable Use policy is intended to help inform Alvernia Computer Network users in the following areas:

  • Comply with intended use
  • Maintain integrity and availability
  • Preserve the privacy of others
  • Respect the intellectual property of others
  • Prevent harassment
  • Prevent misuse
  • Protect computing resources
  • Assure fair access to University printers
  • Provide a process for handling Acceptable Use complaints

Comply with Intended Use
The Alvernia University Campus Network and associated network resources and equipment are intended to assist the campus community to achieve all aspects of the University’s mission, including research, education, and administration. All Alvernia University policies that govern academic and personal behavior on campus are equally applicable to campus computing resources. Additional policies and guidelines may also apply to users of particular systems and equipment on the campus network or that communicate with resources on the network. Similarly, federal, state, and local laws concerning libel, harassment, privacy, copyright, theft, and threats also apply to computing environments and may be prosecuted by law-enforcement officials.

Maintain Integrity and Availability
Users are not permitted to interfere with or alter the integrity of any part of the campus network, equipment, systems, or computing services. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • permitting another individual to use your account, either by sharing your credentials or by logging in on behalf of another
  • impersonating other individuals in communication or as the author or editor of electronic documents or data
  • attempting to capture or crack passwords or encryption
  • destroying or altering data, programs, equipment, or electronic assets belonging to other users
  • attaching devices to the network or to any system on the network that disrupt the normal activity of the network (for example, wireless routers, servers, or other network appliances, which can block normal network access for others)

Users are not permitted to restrict or deny access to any part of the Alvernia University Campus Network by legitimate users, or to deny service to legitimate users through deliberate attempts to saturate the network or overwhelm equipment or programs.

The Alvernia University Campus Network and associated computing resources may not be used for private financial gain.

Preserve the Privacy of Others
The facilities of the Alvernia University Campus Network, systems, equipment, and services encourage sharing of information and collaboration. Security mechanisms have been put in place for protecting information from unintended access, from within the system and from the outside. However, these controls alone cannot guarantee privacy in a large community of users with a free flow of information.  It is therefore each user’s responsibility to be aware of the risks and to protect the privacy of themselves and others.

Invasions of privacy can take many forms, often inadvertent or well-intended.  All users of Alvernia University computing resources and services should make sure that their actions don't violate the privacy of other users, if even unintentionally.

Some specific areas to watch for include the following:

  • Don't attempt to access the files or directories of another user without clear authorization from that user. If you are in doubt, ask the user.
  • Don't attempt to intercept or otherwise monitor any network communications not explicitly intended for you. These include logins, e-mail, user-to-user dialog, and any other network traffic not explicitly intended for you.
  • Don't make personal information about individuals publicly available without their permission. Understand the privacy laws regulating higher education (e.g., FERPA, conducting research involving human subjects, etc.) and respect them.
  • Don't create or use any shared programs that secretly collect information about their users. Software on the Alvernia University Campus Network is subject to the same guidelines for protecting privacy as any other information-gathering project at Alvernia University.
  • Don't remotely log into (or otherwise use) any workstation or computer not designated explicitly for public logins over the network -- even if the configuration of the computer permits remote access -- unless you have explicit permission from the owner and the current user of that computer to log into that machine.

Users should understand that uses of computing and communications resources are not completely private. The normal operation and maintenance of the University’s technology resources require backup and caching of data and communications, logging of activity, monitoring of general use patterns, and other such activities that are necessary to provide quality service. The University treats stored information as confidential, examining the contents only on those occasions where it is required by law, or is necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the University community or society at large, as determined by senior university officials.

Respect the Intellectual Property of Others
Alvernia University faculty, students, and staff produce and consume a vast amount of intellectual property, much of it in digital form, as part of our education and research missions.  This includes
materials covered by the patent, copyright, and trademark laws, as well as license or other contractual terms.

Members of the Alvernia University community also avail themselves of a wide variety of entertainment content that is available on the Internet, most of which is protected by copyright or subject to other legal restrictions on use.

All users need to insure that their use of all these protected digital materials respects the rights of the owners.

Digital materials that may be covered by this rule, without limitation, include: data/databases, e-books, games, journals and periodicals, logos, movies, music, photographs and other graphics, software, textbooks, television programs, and videos.

You should assume that all materials are subject to these legal protections, and may have some restrictions on use.  Ease of access, downloading, sharing, etc. should not be interpreted as a license for use and re-distribution. In particular, peer-to-peer file sharing does not grant license for the unauthorized exchange of copyrighted materials, including movies, music, games, and software programs.

Prevent Harassment
Users are not permitted to use Alvernia University computing resources to create, transmit, or store threatening or harassing materials. Do not produce or transmit any work which has the intent or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual or group's educational or work performance at Alvernia University or elsewhere, or that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational, work or living environment. This includes viewing, sending, or making available offensive materials, unless such activity is appropriate for academic or work purposes.

For example, sending email, text or other electronic messages, creating electronic materials, or publishing information or graphics to the web which unreasonably interfere with anyone's education or work at Alvernia University may constitute harassment and is in violation of the intended use of the system.

Prevent Misuse
Alvernia University provides electronic communications and collaboration services to members of the Alvernia University community. These services include, but are not limited to, electronic mail, mailing lists, message boards, websites, wikis, blogs, and social networking sites.  Some members of the Alvernia University community access similar, or additional, 3rd party services on the Internet.

Users of all such services have a responsibility to use these services properly and to respect the rights of others in their use of these services, and in accordance with published terms of service.

All relevant Alvernia University policies apply to the use of these services, but in particular:

  • Users may not use these services in violation of any applicable law.
  • Any use that might contribute to the creation of a hostile academic or work environment is prohibited.
  • Any unauthorized commercial, non-profit, political, or advocacy use not required for coursework, research or the conduct of Alvernia University business is prohibited.
  • Any non-incidental personal use such as advertisements, solicitations or promotions is prohibited.
  • Users may not produce, publish, transmit or distribute materials using the Alvernia University Campus Network that are contrary to the mission and identity of the university.
  • Alvernia University administrators have authorized certain individuals to send electronic mail to large groups such as all faculty, all staff, all undergraduates, specific classes or groups, alumni, etc., or to the entire Alvernia University community. These lists are not open to posts from the community at large. When using mailing lists, it is the sender’s obligation to understand the service and protect the recipients from intentional or unintentional disclosure of private information.

Any content posted to a service that is inconsistent with these rules, as well as unsolicited mail from outside of Alvernia University (e.g., SPAM), may be subject to automated interception, quarantine and disposal.

Protect Computing Resources
Computing resources are supplied for authorized Alvernia University community members to fulfill educational, research and administrative goals. You should not take any action that violates that purpose. In particular:

  • Don't use computing resources in a way that interferes with their intended use.
  • Don't install licensed software on any university computer without prior approval from University staff.
  • Don't use University computing resources for private financial gain, or, for any profit-making outcome not explicitly intended to serve University objectives and approved for this purpose.

Alvernia University computer equipment is accessible to a large number of people and is consequently vulnerable to overuse and damage. The following guidelines are designed to help protect this equipment.

  • Don't bring food or liquids into computing labs or, in proximity to Alvernia University computer equipment.
  • Don't reconfigure computer equipment, either hardware or software.

Assure Fair Access to University Printers
Printing is a shared resource; restraint must be exercised when using university printers to ensure fair access for everyone to this important service. Generally, be courteous in your use of the labs and printers, but in particular:

  • Do not overload the printer queue with multiple jobs.
  • Break large jobs into smaller sections and send them to the printer individually.
  • Do not use the printers to produce many copies of a large document; use a copy service for this purpose.

Provide a Process for Handling Acceptable Use Complaints

  • Copyright Infringement - If the university receives a complaint from a copyright owner or his/her agent that a student is unlawfully making available digitized copies of copyright protected material through the University's Campus Network, the complaint will be forwarded to the student, who will be asked to remove the copyrighted material. Repeat offenses may lead to loss of Internet privileges and referral for disciplinary action.
  • Other Misuses of Computer Resources - Complaints about student misuse of computer resources should be referred to the Manager, Support Services, who may attempt to informally resolve the complaint with the student. If the complaint cannot be resolved informally or, is deemed to be egregious, the matter may be referred for disciplinary action under the Student Code of Citizenship.

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