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Electronic Information Policy

All students, faculty and staff are encouraged to choose computing resources appropriate to their work. All users of Emerson College's computing resources are expected to behave in a responsible, ethical, and legal manner. In general, appropriate use means respecting the rights of other computer users, the integrity of the physical facilities, and all pertinent and contractual agreements.

I. Guidelines for Ethical Behavior

  • Use only computers, computer accounts, and computer files for which you have authorization.
  • Network services and wiring may not be modified or tampered with. This applies to all network wiring hardware and jacks.
  • Network services and wiring may not be extended beyond the port provided. Retransmission or propagation of network services is prohibited without explicit permission. This includes the installation of hubs, switches and wireless equipment.
  • You are ultimately responsible for anyone's use of your network connection.
  • Obey established guidelines for any computers or networks used inside and outside the College.
  • Do not attempt to access restricted portions of the operating system, security software, or accounting software unless authorized by the appropriate College administrator.
  • Abide by all applicable laws.
  • Respect the privacy and personal rights of others. Do not access or copy another user's electronic mail, data, programs, or other files without permission.
  • Abide by all applicable copyright laws and licenses. Both College policies and the law expressly forbid the copying of software that has not been placed in the public domain or distributed as "freeware" or "shareware." Reproduction of copyrighted material is subject to the Copyright laws of the United States (Title 17, U.S.C.). Infringement of copyright may subject persons to fines and penalties.
  • Employ appropriate standards of civility when using computer systems to communicate with other individuals.
  • Be sensitive to the needs of others, and use only your fair share of computing resources. The network is a shared resource, thus network use or applications which inhibit or interfere with the use of the network and services by others are not permitted.
  • Treat computing resources and electronic information as a valuable College resource. Protect your data and the systems you use.
  • Use Emerson's computing facilities and services for College related work. Activities that would jeopardize the College's tax-exempt status are prohibited. Persons are not permitted to engage in consulting or other business ventures using the Emerson College network.
  • The network may not be used to provide computer services or Internet access to anyone outside of Emerson College for any purposes without the express written permission of the Vice President of Administration and Finance.
  • Stay informed about the computing environment.
  • Take due precaution against the spread of computer viruses. Install virus protection software on your computer. Regularly check hard drive and exposed floppy disks for the presence of viruses.
  • The following activities are specifically prohibited: disclosing your password to others; using somebody else's password to gain access to Emerson's system; using illegally obtained software on the system; copying, altering or deleting someone else's files without that person's permission; forging messages; cracking passwords and systems; sending harassing or threatening messages; The sending of unauthorized anonymous messages; the sending of bulk unsolicited messages; reading someone else's files without permission system attacks; denial of services; and other malicious uses of the network and systems.
  • Sending data over the campus network and/or Emerson College computer systems and identifying yourself as anything but your assigned username is strictly forbidden.
  • Network connections may not be used to monitor network traffic or devices by means of hardware or software applications.
  • All IP addresses, both static and dynamic, are the Property of Emerson College.

II. Violations of Guidelines

Violations of the above policies are considered unethical and may lead to College disciplinary action and/or criminal prosecution. Individuals are encouraged to report information concerning instances in which the above guidelines have been or are being violated. In accordance with the established College practices, policies, and procedures, confirmation of inappropriate use of Emerson College technology resources may result in termination of access, expulsion from the College, termination of employment, legal action or other disciplinary action.

Questions about this document and reports of possible violation can be directed to the EIP Executive Board (send a message to EIPB@emerson.edu).

III. Source Acknowledgments

This statement draws heavily upon the following documents:

  • Ithaca College's Campus Wide Information Service Policy Statement
  • Bentley College's Computer Ethics Policy
  • SIPB Guidelines for Appropriate Use of MIT's Campus-Wide Information Services
  • University of Michigan's Computing Handbook
  • University of Missouri-Columbia Code of Conduct for Legal and Ethical Computer Use
  • University of Rochester's Acceptable Use Policy and User Manual
  • University of California-Santa Barbara's Responsible Use Policy
  • Harvard University's Use of Computers and Networks