Policy for Responsible Use of Electronic Communications and Network Services

Use of College-owned computers and the campus network and other communications systems is considered a privilege, not a right.  The College reserves the right to limit, restrict, or extend computing/networking privileges and access to computer resources.  Electronic communications, including electronic mail, mailboxes, Internet and the contents, (subject to the intellectual property policies of the College) created or stored on any College computer/network related equipment, are the sole property of the College.  Computers and the campus network are provided to assist students and employees in the completion of their academic pursuits and job duties and to support the College's daily operations and long term goals.  The College reserves the right to monitor computer/network communications, including Internet access and E-mail at its discretion for legitimate business and educational purposes.  Legitimate purposes may include but are not limited to:  periodic systems checks; checks for inappropriate personal use of College equipment, investigations into claims of wrongdoing; locating information stored in files required for the conduct of business; and quality control.

You should be aware that your E-mail messages, even those marked personal or those which must be accessed with personal identification or password, may be reviewed by the College to ensure proper usage consistent with this policy.

We urge you to use restraint when drafting E-mail messages.  Employees and students should use the same caution in drafting and transmitting E-mail messages as they would when writing a formal memorandum.  Always assume that your messages will be saved and may be reviewed by someone other than the original addressee; these messages can be subpoenaed by court order.

The primary use of computer and the Dickinson campus network must be related to legitimate academic pursuits, the College's business and/or to the employee's job functions within the College.  Personal computer use is permitted provided that such use:

  • Does not affect productivity, quality or service to students and others whom we serve.
  • Does not interfere with the user's job responsibilities or other obligations to the College.
  • Does not create a conflict of interest or contribute to personal financial gain.
  • Does not directly or indirectly interfere with the College's operation of electronic mail services, computing capacity or network capacity.
  • Does not violate any of the guidelines and procedures contained in this and other applicable laws or Dickinson College policies including other Acceptable Use Policies currently in effect at Dickinson and the College's policy on Harassment.
  • Provided that established computer naming formats are followed.

Employees and students are prohibited from using College-owned computers and/or College-provided computer/network services to:

  • Download offensive or derogatory material from the Internet.
  • Duplicate copyrighted or licensed software, or use illegal copies of software.  These practices may also be violations of federal law.
  • Send harassing or offensive communications over computer lines, including initiating or forwarding electronic chain letters.
  • Gain or attempt to gain unauthorized access to, or make unauthorized use of, another's individual ID and/or password, computer accounts, disks, files, equipment, networks, or facilities.
  • Violate the privacy of others by reading their files or computer mail.
  • Intentionally erase stored information or modify equipment, accounts, disks, or files which are not your own.
  • Attempt to deceive other computer users through false representation or forgery.
  • Attempt to defeat any security mechanisms, including automatic idle session timeouts, which have been put in place to protect the integrity of computer systems, information, and networks.
  • Intentionally introduce harmful software or release a virus, worm, or other program that damages or otherwise harms a system or network.
  • Interfere with any other person's fair use of computer systems.
  • Compromise any computer system by releasing privileged or sensitive information, including personal passwords.
  • Run a personal business.
  • Violate any local, state or federal law.
  • Establish workgroup file sharing, print sharing or peer to peer services on any segment of the Dickinson campus network without approval and verification from LIS.
  • Implement private wireless access points on the Dickinson campus network per the policy for Wireless Internet Access.

The prohibited uses are not intended to restrict academic freedom.  Nevertheless, members of the College community will remain responsible for prohibited uses which have no reasonable relationship to teaching, learning or scholarly research.

Employees and students are advised that continued use of the  College's computers /networks constitutes consent to monitoring of electronic communications, including electronic mail, mailboxes, Internet and the contents created or stored on any College computer/network related equipment and is conditioned upon strict adherence to College policy.  Failure to adhere to this policy may result in the loss of E-mail and/or computing/networking privileges and discipline up to and including censure, expulsion or termination in addition to any applicable civil or criminal penalties.

Disciplinary actions involving Faculty or Academic Professionals will be initiated by the Dean of the College after consulting with either the Faculty Personnel Committee or the  Personnel Committee for Academic Professionals as appropriate.  Disciplinary actions involving College administrators or staff will be referred to the normal personnel procedures by the employee's division head.  Disciplinary actions involving students will be referred to the student disciplinary hearing process by the Dean of Students or his/her designee.

Continued use of the College's E-mail system constitutes acceptance of this policy.

This policy was approved on a provisional basis by the Information Technology Committee on October 13, 2004