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Information Technologies Blog

Computer Policies

Posted by kevin.buel on Sunday December 30, 2007

For the purpose of this document, Nyack  College and Alliance Theological Seminary will be referred to as Nyack or Nyack College.
  

 

Nyack College provides faculty, staff and currently enrolled students with access to network and computing resources as an integral part of the education environment.  It is expected that users will use these resources responsibly and consistently with the Nyack mission and objectives. Nyack reserves the right to define and to enforce appropriate regulations to ensure that the use of these resources is consistent with Nyack’s mission. 


As a community that yields to the leadership of Jesus Christ, Nyack expects responsible use of technology by both students and employees.  The following policies help define what is meant by responsible use of computer-related technology and complement the values of Nyack.  Users of Nyack’s accounts are acting as representatives of Nyack and, as such, should act accordingly to uphold Nyack’s character and reputation.

 

Permitted and Appropriate Use

Access to computing facilities is a privilege granted solely to faculty, staff, and registered students.  Users must act responsibly and maintain the integrity of these resources.  The regulations and guidelines stated here refer to all access and usage of Nyack College’s computers, internet, network and e-mail.  Usage must comply with federal, state and local telecommunications and networking laws and regulations.  Usage must be ethical, reflect academic honesty, reflect community standards, respect the rights of other users, respect all pertinent license and contractual agreements, and show restraint in the consumption of shared resources. 

Occasional and reasonable personal use is permitted, provided that it does not interfere with the performance of work duties and responsibilities.  Nyack’s internet services may be used for personal improvement, outside of scheduled work hours, provided that such use is consistent with this policy.

  • An account owner may not lend his/her account(s) to another user.  All accounts are required to be protected from unauthorized access by the use of a password.
  • Each user is responsible and liable for all computing activities involving their account.
  • Usage of computer resources is a privilege and not transferable or extendible by members of the college community to people or groups outside the college without the written approval of the Information Technologies Department.
  • An employee is sometimes given access to confidential or privileged information relating to the institution, students, or other employees.  Employees must respect the confidentiality of all information.  They must neither divulge confidential information without appropriate consent nor seek to obtain access to information to which they are not entitled.

Prohibited Use

Examples of misuse include, but are not limited to:

  • Unauthorized use of a computer or network.
  • Obtaining a password for a computer account without the consent of the account owner.
  • Attempting or accessing any account or data not personally owned, regardless of intent and whether or not the material is protected. The only exceptions are for access specifically authorized or assigned by the owner.
  • Attempting to monitor or tamper with another user’s electronic communications, or reading, copying, changing, or deleting another user’s files or software without the explicit agreement of the owner.
  • Any use of the institution’s computers, internet, or network to gain improper access to or make improper use of computer systems elsewhere.
  • Sharing information or providing other means of access, encouraging or even enabling use of the institution's computers by anyone not a current faculty member, staff member, or student of the institution.
  • Performing an act that interferes with the normal operation of computers, terminals, peripherals, or networks.

  • Copying, moving, removing or altering hardware, networks and software owned or under license by the institution except by staff of Information Services.
  • Running or installing on any computer system or network, or giving to another user, a program intended to damage or to place excessive load on a computer system or network.  This includes but is not limited to programs known as computer viruses, Trojan horses, and worms.
  • Forwarding e-mail chain letters or spamming e-mail accounts from Nyack College’s e-mail services or institution machines.
  • Staff and Faculty are prohibited from establishing an “all forward” of their Nyack College business email to external personal email accounts.  Manual forwarding of individual messages is permissible as long as no sensitive or Federal or State law-protected information is included.  Persons doing so will be subject to possible litigation associated with such a breach and termination of their employment. 
  • Attempting to circumvent data protection or uncover security loopholes.
  • Violating terms of applicable software licensing agreements or copyright laws.
  • Deliberately wasting computer resources and consumables.
  • Masking the identity of an account or machine.
  • Posting materials on electronic bulletin boards that violate existing laws or the institution’s standard of conduct.
  • Using the institution’s computers, internet, or network for unlawful activities, commercial purposes not under the auspices of the institution, personal financial gain, gambling, political solicitation or personal use inconsistent with this policy.
  • Using the computers, internet, or network to plagiarize or cheat on an exam, paper or other assignment.

Activities are not considered misuse when authorized by appropriate institution officials for security, performance testing or to promote the general welfare of the college community.

 

Respect for Community

Users are required to behave in their use of the technology in a manner consistent with mature Christian behavior and the institution’s Standards for Community Life as well as federal and state law. 

  • The creation and sending of e-mail or other messages that harass, slur, embarrass, demean or is otherwise harmful is unacceptable.
  • Standards embraced by this Christian community are well known.  Usage of the institution’s computers, internet, or network for viewing, accessing, downloading, saving, receiving, or transmitting racist, pornographic, harassing, threatening, violent, or otherwise offensive material is unacceptable.  This applies to any screen display, printing, or the transmission of images, sounds or messages.  Any user, student or employee, caught accessing such material will be appropriately disciplined.
  • Promoting discrimination on the basis of race, gender, national origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation, religion or disability is unacceptable.

Confidentiality and Privacy

The institution gives best effort to keep its systems and data secure. Users should have no expectation of privacy while using institution-owned or institution-leased equipment.  Information passing through or stored on institution equipment can and will be monitored.    Sending sensitive information by email over the internet is illegal.  Nyack College maintains the right to monitor and review internet use and e-mail communications sent or received by users as necessary (i.e., for troubleshooting, retrieving business-related information, legal requests, etc.).

 

Confidential information relative to personnel matters, internal investigations and litigation should not be transmitted.  Extra copies of all data are kept in the routine process of backup. Deletion of on-line files by a user does not mean that no other copy remains.

 

Respect for Ownership and Copyright

All hardware purchased by the institution remains its property. The material contained in those systems is also the property of the institution with the exception of software, which remains the property of third parties while used by the institution under the provisions of licenses and copyrights. 
Keeping, using, copying, sharing or distributing software, images or other tangible or intellectual property which one neither owns nor has a valid license is in violation of copyright and is unacceptable.  No improperly gained material is to reside on institution computers; if discovered it will be removed.  The institution’s policies on plagiarism apply to uses of the computers and network in course assignments.


Respect for Resources

Users must be reasonable with regards to impact on all other users.  If conflicts of resources arise, priority is given to academic and administrative work.

  • Users must show regard for the resource by routinely removing duplicate or unnecessary files, or seeking off-line means of storage.
  • Generating chain letters or sending broadcast messages beyond the institution’s distribution lists is unacceptable.
  • In public areas such as labs, installing software not owned by the institution and leaving personal files on internal disks are unacceptable. Staff removes all such materials from public machines without notice.
  • Users are expected to conserve paper. Users provide their own paper for personal printouts, and the institution reserves the right to charge direct fees for paper use in public labs.
  • Our email host limits our boxes to 25 Gig.  Even with these generous limits, Nyack encourages everyone to manage their email effectively. 

  • The administrators of the institution’s e-mail facility may, within certain limits, block incoming e-mail including unsolicited bulk e-mail or “spam.”

Web Blocking

The institution blocks access to web sites categorized as blatant pornography and hatred.  The assignment or release of web sites from various categories is within the control of the institution.  There is a lack of any technical means to guarantee the total absence of objectionable material from the campus network.  Therefore, all members of the community are encouraged to diligently avoid pornographic material and hate sites.  

 

Policy Violations and Sanctions

Computer usage is not an individual right but rather a privilege and users must conform to the guidelines and standards in this policy.  Users must cooperate with Information Services in its operation as well as in the investigation of misuse or abuse. 

  • Persons who feel they are the target of violations are encouraged to bring their concern to the Information Technologies Department.
  • Persons who discover an unauthorized use of their account should immediately report it to the Information Technologies Department.
  • Persons who observe any loopholes in the security of the systems should report it to the Information Technologies Department.

Use of computer systems is monitored and recorded by authorized staff members to safeguard security and smooth operation.  The institution may respond to violations of this policy as it deems appropriate. Responses include:  investigation and confrontation of violators, suspension of privileges, referral to the judicial process, termination of employment (staff) or expulsion (students), prosecution, and/or civil action.  The institution is not responsible for defending users against litigation arising from conduct or content that violates policy.

 

Violations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.  Then, Information Technologies may as deemed necessary (and with appropriate approval) disable the account and turn all pertinent information over to the individual’s immediate supervisor (faculty/staff) or Dean of Students (students).  The Dean of Students determines disciplinary actions in matters involving students. Disciplinary actions involving staff members are governed by the procedures set out in the institution’s personnel policies. The Provost determines appropriate actions taken in situations involving faculty members. Individuals who disagree with an administrative decision may submit an appeal to the appropriate office as outlined in the appropriate handbook. 

 

This policy may be updated and modified from time to time.  The latest approved version of this policy will be posted on the Nyack website at www.nyackcollege.edu/it/.

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