Acceptable Use Policy for Computing Resources
The computing systems and resources of Loyalist College serve to support and enhance the academic mission of the College and its community. As well, access to the computing systems and resources at Loyalist College is a privilege to be used in effective, ethical and lawful ways that support the values of the College. The College will endeavour to maintain an atmosphere that balances respect for individual users with respect for College facilities and for College and community standards.
This operating policy is applicable to the entire Loyalist College community using any device connected to the College data network from any access point, internal or remote. This policy includes all privately owned computers connected to the Loyalist College network. In this context, the College community includes: all registered students, both full time and part time; all paid employees, full time, part time and casual; and all others associated with the College including board members, retirees, volunteers, or contractors and such visitors as are granted periodic user status by the College.
- Computing resources are provided primarily to support and further the College mission.
- College community users are expected to comply with provincial and federal laws and Loyalist College policies and procedures.
- Members of the College community are responsible and accountable for their actions and statements in the electronic working and learning environment, according to the disciplinary policy of their respective jurisdiction.
- Members are expected to use reasonable restraint in the consumption of these valuable shared resources, and to use them in ways that do not interfere with the study, work or working environment of other users.
- Generally, with respect to computing user accounts established for students, faculty and staff, there is a presumption of privacy. However, if an infraction is suspected, the traffic and files will be investigated in accordance with the appropriate College processes.
- Computer users accessing external networks are bound by their policies, and the more restrictive policy of either Loyalist or the external network will apply.
It is acceptable to use Loyalist College computing resources:
- For purposes related directly to the learning process
- In the case of employees and contractors, for the performance of necessary job-related tasks
- For limited amounts of personal use of email and Internet access providing such activity does not interfere with the person’s work schedule or responsibilities, or the mission of the College
The following sections outline computer user responsibilities and restrictions, together with procedures for policy violation and disciplinary measures. The College’s Student Manual and Guide, and the employee collective agreements or terms and conditions of employment may guide the application of sanctions and disciplinary actions. Federal and provincial statutes are strictly enforced and Loyalist College offers its full support and cooperation in the investigation, apprehension and prosecution of any person utilizing College computing resources in the commission of a crime or suspected illegal activity.
This “Acceptable Use Policy for Computing Resources” will be posted prominently within College computing facilities and will be available in various publications distributed to students.
A. User responsibilities
1. Users are responsible for any and all use of their User Accounts. As such:
a. Users should maintain secure passwords for any and all accounts assigned to them.
b. Users should ensure and safeguard against others obtaining unauthorized access to their accounts.
c. Users should not share passwords or any other access control information for their accounts.
2. Users are responsible for ensuring the confidentiality of any restricted data or information they have been granted access to. As such:
a. Users should ensure that confidential information is not observed by others while working at a computer.
b. Users should not leave their computers unattended while logged on to their accounts.
c. Users should exercise discretion when printing confidential information which may be viewed or observed by unauthorized persons.
d. Users may not copy, send, duplicate or transmit, by any means, confidential data from College systems for any purpose other than performance of College-related business.
3. Users must comply with all copyright and license conditions associated with College computing systems. As such:
a. Users must not move, copy or transfer programs, files or other forms of software from one computing system to another without proper authorization to do so.
b. Users must not distribute, sell or make available software to any person where prohibited by copyright or license.
c. Users must not access and use software belonging to or owned by Loyalist College without proper authorization and license rights.
B. User restrictions
Users must use computing resources only for the purposes for which they were authorized. As such:
1. Users must not use College computing resources for private business use or for any form of direct personal financial gain.
2. Users must not use College computing resources to build support for personal or political causes. This is not intended to discourage non-political, non-partisan involvement.
3. Users must not use College computing resources for the creation, transmission, storage, access or viewing of materials which in any way contribute, support or promote actions which are prohibited on the basis of harassment and/or discrimination including but not limited to the categories of:
b. Sexual harassment
c. Racial/ethnic/cultural harassment;
e. Poisoned environment
f. Hate literature
g. Systemic harassment/discrimination
This restriction is not intended to interfere with legitimate and appropriate uses for teaching purposes.
4. Users must not use College computing resources for the creation, transmission, storage, access, or viewing of materials prohibited by federal and/or provincial law, or which, in the sole opinion of the College, are offensive by community standards and values. These restrictions include, but are not limited to the following:
a. Any form of material supporting or contributing to the harassment or discrimination as categorized in restriction # 3;
b. Any form of pornographic, obscene or sexually explicit material; or
c. Any form of illegal trade, negotiation or conspiracy to conduct illegal acts.
5. Users must not use College computing resources for the creation, transmission, storage, access or viewing of materials which are deemed by the College to serve no useful academic or administrative purpose. These restrictions include, but are not limited to the following:
a. Online gaming such as multi-player Internet or local area network games.
b. Downloading, copying or transmittal of personal use software or any other form of electronic information and materials.
c. Email communications that denigrate the objectives of the College. If the proposed communication is questionable, it should first be referred to the Vice-President, Finance & Corporate Services. Appeals may be made to the President.
6. Users must not attempt to interfere with the normal operation of College computing systems, facilities or resources. As such users must not:
a. Attempt to encroach on others’ use of computing facilities.
b. Attempt to subvert the restrictions associated with their computer accounts.
c. Attempt to gain access to systems both inside and outside of Loyalist College for which they have no authorization.
7. Users must not utilize any College computing facilities for the purpose of creation, development, storage, replication or transmittal of any program, code, subroutine or other means intended to disrupt, interfere, destroy or corrupt the normal operation of systems or data. (e.g., viruses, worms, hack utilities, net snooping utilities).
C. Procedure for policy violation
The following guidelines outline the procedures and disciplinary measures which may be invoked in instances of policy violation. Progressive disciplinary measures are instituted in instances of minor violations. More serious offenses including but not limited to issues of harassment, discrimination, threats to personal safety, substantial risk to a College member (staff, students or visitors) or major damage to College systems will result in immediate disciplinary measures aimed at safeguarding or protecting individuals or College resources.
The process for addressing alleged violations of the Acceptable Use Policy for Computing is as follows:
- A first violation (minor) will result in a warning to cease the alleged violation. Warnings may be issued by any College employee witnessing or suspecting a violation of this policy by any student or visitor of the College. Warnings may be issued by any College Manager/Official witnessing or suspecting a violation of this policy by any staff member.
A meeting may be set up to review the alleged violation, allow the individual an opportunity to respond, and to discuss the warning. In the case of a student, such meeting shall be attended by the staff member witnessing or suspecting the violation, the coordinator of the program in which the student is enrolled or the responsible Dean.
- A second violation (minor) will result in a written warning from the appropriate Director, Dean, or Vice-President, Finance & Corporate Services. At that point the alleged violation is considered to have become a disciplinary matter and will be referred to the appropriate disciplinary body or process.
In issues of student violation, the Dean of the appropriate school, in conjunction with the program coordinator, shall determine the course of disciplinary action. Matters of harassment or discrimination are governed by the College’s Policy on Harassment.
- Third and subsequent violations (minor) may, in the sole judgment of the College, result in restriction or complete suspension of access to computing facilities. Such sanctions will remain in effect until the investigation of the alleged violation is complete. Opportunities for review and discussion of the alleged violation will be subject to the “Academic Appeal Procedure” or in the case of staff, the provisions of the College’s employee groups’ collective agreements or terms and conditions of employment.
- The Vice-President, Finance & Corporate Services may, in his sole judgment, deem conduct to be a major violation of this policy, rather than a violation (minor). The Vice President, Finance & Corporate Services may impose whatever measures are reasonably necessary to balance academic freedom against the prevention of a major violation or a reoccurrence of a major violation, including but not limited to immediate restriction or suspension of access by any person or persons to computing resources and services, whether before, during or after investigation of the matter has been completed. Opportunities for review and discussion of the alleged violation will be subject to the “Academic Appeal Procedure” or in the case of staff, the provisions of the College’s employee groups’ collective agreements or terms and conditions of employment.
D. User rules for computer labs
In addition to the Responsibilities and Restrictions as described in the Acceptable Use Policy for Computing, the following User Rules apply to all academic or public access computing labs within Loyalist College.
- Academic computing labs (teaching or general access) serve to support the teaching and learning endeavors of the College community. Users of these facilities are expected to behave in an appropriate manner so as not to disrupt in any way users of these facilities.
- In accordance with section B.3 of the Acceptable Use Policy for Computing, users of these facilities shall in no way participate in actions which are prohibited on the grounds of harassment, discrimination or by way of illegal act. Examples include the access, transmittal, storage or viewing of materials reasonably determined to be: sexually explicit, pornographic, obscene, harassing or discriminatory (on the basis of race, ethnicity, culture, gender or sexual orientation), supporting or contributing to hatred of any group or in any way threatening, as perceived by any individual or group.
- In order to ensure the proper functioning of these labs, users must not in any way tamper, change, or disrupt the normal function of the hardware and software contained within these facilities. Examples include such things as changing operating system configurations, desktop attributes or software functions.
- Lab users shall not download, store or install any software or other electronic file which does not support an approved academic purpose, which is for personal use or for which they do not have the explicit consent to do so by an authorized College official.
- Lab users must not access, store or transmit any program, code, subroutine or other electronic file which is known or ought to have been known by them to contain destructive or interfering capabilities such as viruses.
- Lab users shall not use the computer systems or services of Loyalist College for personal or business use, for any form of direct personal financial gain or the support or promotion of a political or personal cause.
- Lab users shall not participate in any form of personal group messaging such as “chat lines,” IRC, ICQ or other forms of synchronous or asynchronous group messaging unless specifically permitted as a program requirement.
- Lab users must not use the printing services contained within these labs for any non-academic, personal use, e.g., flyers, Internet documents, manuals etc.
- Multi-copy printing is strictly prohibited. Photocopy services are located throughout the College campuses for such use.
- Lab users must in no way misrepresent their identity through impersonation, alias or anonymity so as to conduct or transmit any communication, data or other file.
- Plagiarism, theft, cheating on tests, assignments or reports, misrepresentation of identity, or the falsification of data in any way constitutes “Academic Dishonesty.” Academic Dishonesty, as described in the “Student Manual and Guide,” is a serious offence and extends to the users of computing lab facilities.
- Upon request, lab users must present College identification in the form of a current Student or Staff ID card.
E. Student Access Lab acceptable use policy
Except where noted here, all other Loyalist College Operating Policy elements apply to the use of the Student Access Lab. It is the users’ responsibility to read and clearly understand all elements of this policy. Any breach of this policy will be dealt with under the guidelines set forth in ‘Section C’ of this document.
The Student Access Lab is funded by the technology fee paid by full-time and part-time post-secondary day students at the time of registration. These fees allow privileges within the Student Access Lab beyond what is allowed in other labs around Loyalist College. With these added privileges come responsibilities:
- Food and beverages are not allowed in the Student Access Lab.
- During times when the Student Access Lab is busy, equipment is to be used for course-related work exclusively. Anyone using equipment for personal or non-course-related work during such times shall, upon request, relinquish their computer to allow others to work on course-related material.
- Personal use of equipment, within reason, will be allowed in the Student Access Lab during off-peak hours. This includes personal email and chat.
- Games and file sharing (i.e. Kazaa, Napster, BearShare, etc.) will not be allowed at any time.
- Adult websites are offensive to others and are not acceptable anywhere in our educational environment. As a result, anyone visiting a website containing “adult” material will be asked to leave the Student Access Lab immediately.
- The Student Access Lab is considered a study area and as such, noise must be kept at an acceptable level. Quiet discussions will be tolerated, but anyone making an excessive amount of noise shall, upon request by a lab assistant, leave the lab.
- Lab assistants will be available in the Student Access Lab during hours of operation to assist with basic computer problems (i.e. saving files, printing, etc.). Assistants will not assist with course-related material. Course-related questions should be directed to the appropriate instructor. Lab assistants also have a responsibility to enforce computer use policies and may eject from the Student Access Lab anyone who does not respect these policies.