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Policy on Use of Public Computing Resources

Effective: June 20, 1994


The purpose of this policy is to define the appropriate use of public computing resources managed by the Department of Information Technology Services (ITS). ITS representatives and other University officials are authorized to take action to enforce appropriate use when necessary.

Meaning of Terms

Public computing resources are the resources that are available to broad groups of users within the University community. They include, but are not limited to, public-access microcomputer facilities, shared multi-user computing systems such as blue.unix and the network services (including wireless) that ITS manages. The word "public," in this context, describes a resource that is available broadly to a members of the University community. It does not imply that these resources are available to persons from outside the University community of employees and students.

Policy Statement

In pursuit of its mission, the University provides public computing resources to members of the University community. Often the resources, such as the public-access microcomputer facilities, serve to support classroom instruction. In times when the load on such resources is heavy, University staff or other community members may question whether a person is using the resource according to its defined purpose. For example, in a microcomputer facility, one student may ask another to give up his or her seat in the facility if he or she using the equipment for non-classroom-related activity. Similarly, staff who are responsible for public computing resources are authorized to request that inappropriate activity be terminated.

According to the Policy on Use of University Equipment:

"University equipment may not be used by University faculty, staff, or students for personal purposes unrelated to the University's mission or for commercial purposes. Likewise, University-owned and provided consumable materials and supplies may not be used for such personal purposes or commercial purposes."

Inappropriate activity therefore may include (but is not limited to) non-mission-related use of games, electronic mail, "chat," USENET news groups, as well as other activities (including activation of unauthorized devices) that consume capacity, including network bandwidth, or disrupt services. To ensure maximum privacy for users, the responsibility to demonstrate mission-relatedness of activity is the user's when questioned. If the user chooses not to do so, he or she must relinquish use of the resource.

The University expects all users to cooperate in using public computing resources for their intended purposes and in discontinuing their access when reasonably requested to do so. Failure to observe this policy may result in disciplinary action.

Related Policies

This policy is intended to complement other University policies with overlapping content, including the policy on Ethics in Computer Usage (the Computer Usage Policy) and the policy on Use of University Equipment (both are published in the University Record).

Revisions: April 10, 2000; December 1, 2000; June 21, 2001

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