Policy on Ethical Use of Information Technology Resources

  1. Introduction

    The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for the ethical, legal, and efficient use of information technology resources at Bradley University. This policy supports the mission of the university and applies to all authorized users of any Bradley University information technology resource. The principles specified here are consistent with respect for personal privacy, academic freedom, data integrity, and information technology resource availability. This policy is in addition to other University policies, state and federal laws and assumes that authorized users will apply common sense and exercise common courtesy.
  2. Authorized Users

    Individuals who are members of the Bradley University Community are considered authorized users covered by this policy. In addition, all non-University individuals having access to University resources as part of external, collaborative agreements are, for the purposes of this document, considered authorized users and must also abide by this policy. All other individuals are considered to be unauthorized users and may be subject to legal action and/or sanctions by the university.
  3. Resources covered by this policy include, but are not limited to:
    1. All computer hardware, software, network and associated services (email, ftp, bulletin boards, web access, etc.)
    2. All production and recording related technologies
    3. All print (books, newspaper and journals) and non-print (audio and video tape, film, DVD, audio CD, electronic resources, special collections, microform, curriculum kits, etc.) resources
    4. Telecommunications services (voice mail, audix, audio/video conferencing, radio messaging, etc.)
    5. Intellectual property in any format
  4. Authorized Use

    Authorized use is predicated on access by an authorized user. Authorized use is that which is consistent with the academic, research and service goals of this institution and falls within the guidelines of this policy. Use of all resources must comply with federal, state and local statutes. In addition, use of some resources, for example software and hardware, may also be limited by contractual agreement between the University and the supplier.
  5. Individual Rights

    1. Privacy
      Bradley University recognizes the desire for privacy of each authorized user. However, it is impossible to guarantee such privacy. For example, electronic mail messages are not secure because of the technology used and users should not assume that they are private. In the normal performance of their job functions some University technical support personnel may need to view an authorized user’s files, confidential information or activities. These employees are bound by professional ethics to respect individual privacy and not to disclose any information. All other viewing or monitoring of an authorized user’s files, confidential information or activities requires the establishment of probable cause and approval by the Provost.
    2. Freedom of Expression
      Subject to existing laws and university policies, freedom of expression is a right afforded to all authorized users. Authorized users should be aware that exercising this right may occasionally produce material others consider offensive. All users should realize that the potential of accessing resources offensive to themselves and to others does exist (e.g., the content of web pages); therefore, users take responsibility for their own use of resources.
    3. Harassment Policy
      Bradley University reaffirms the principle that its authorized users have the right to be free from any action that constitutes harassment in any form. Individuals who believe they have been harassed should follow University procedures and contact the Ombudsman or other appropriate official.
  6. Individual Responsibilities

    1. Morals and Ethics
      Authorized users are expected to respect the right to privacy of other individuals. It is expected that explicit permission from the owner of any non-public resource be obtained before it is used. Authorized users are expected to respect the freedom of expression of other individuals.
    2. Expected Behaviors
      This section details some guidelines relating to specific expected behaviors described below.  
      1. User Authentication and Password
        Authorized users are not permitted to use any user identification that is not assigned to them to access any resource. Authorized users may not share any user password or authentication with other individuals. A user identifier is granted to an individual and that individual is responsible for any use of that identifier. If information needs to be shared with others, this should be done without the sharing of an identifier or a password.
      2. Providing Services
        Authorized users are not permitted to use University resources to provide services to others without prior written permission from the department or division responsible for providing the service. This applies especially to all computerized services such as WEB, FTP, etc. as well as to all other services.
      3. Unauthorized Use
        Authorized users are only entitled to use those resources, such as computers, networks and other information resources, which they have been granted permission to use. No user is allowed to attempt to guess or use another individual’s password or other private identification to access any information technology resources. If an account has been compromised, it should be reported to the appropriate administrative unit.
      4. Unauthorized Monitoring
        Authorized users are not permitted, except as noted in section V(A), to use University resources to attempt to monitor or intercept electronic transmissions. Use of all resources must comply with federal, state and local statutes.  
      5. Disruption of Services
        Deliberate attempts to disrupt the operation or degrade the performance of information technology resources are prohibited. Authorized users should be aware of potentially disruptive consequences of their actions and refrain from them.  
      6. Fair Share of Resources
        Authorized users may not engage in activities that require heavy use of resources without obtaining appropriate permission. For example, hosting a web site might place a heavy demand on University resources. Mass electronic mailings such as University wide mailings require heavy resource usage. The IRT department can provide advice on efficient means to share information.
      7. Business Use
        Authorized users are not permitted to use University resources for non-University employment. However, open access to library resources is permitted for all authorized users unless otherwise noted. Limited use of resources for sponsored projects is permitted with proper authorization. Note that some resources (especially some software programs) may not be used under any conditions for any purpose that is not directly related to credit education.
      8. Use of Copyrighted or Licensed Materials
        Bradley University is committed to the observance of all aspects of Federal copyright law and will not tolerate unlawful infringement. All authorized users are responsible for adherence to Federal guidelines. If an authorized user fails to adhere, the University will not provide any defense or indemnification to any claim of copyright infringement resulting from willful infringement or other unauthorized duplication. The University reserves the right to take all reasonable steps to prevent such violations.
      9. Internet Services
        Authorized users must abide by the established rules of conduct, for the Internet services used. Internet services (such as list servers, user groups and chat rooms) normally include the rules of conduct in their usage agreements. For example, many services do not permit users to misrepresent themselves.
      10. Personal Identifying Information
        Authorized users may not use another person’s personal identifying information. Exceptions may occur with that person’s documented consent. Existing law makes it a public offense to use another person’s personal identifying information to obtain credit, goods or services without the person’s consent.
      11. Personal Use
        Personal use of Bradley University information resources by faculty and staff is permitted so long as it does not interfere with the regular duties of the employee. Examples of personal use are receiving, sending and responding to E-mail of a private and/or personal nature and searching the web for information not directly related to the duties of the employee. Of course, employees are expected to resist use of such resources within guidelines of state and federal laws as well.
      12. Harassment
        Authorized users are not permitted to harass others. Examples of this include sending or broadcasting annoying, obscene, libelous or threatening messages.
      13. Damage of Information
        Technology Resources Authorized users are not permitted to intentionally damage University information technology resources.
      14. Peer-to-Peer Sharing
        Bradley University is committed to the observation of all aspects of Federal copyright legislation and will not tolerate unlawful infringement activities. While it is recognized that peer-to-peer applications serve a legitimate purpose, it is the responsibility of the user to ensure that their use in transferring files adheres to established Federal Guidelines. Acquisition or distribution of music, video, game, or program files without express permission violates Federal Legislation and the University Policy on the Ethical Use of Information Resources. Users found in violation of this policy will be subject to sanctions listed in the Policy of Misuse of Information Resources located on the Bradley website.

    Authorized users are expected to understand this policy and abide by it. This policy is widely distributed and easily accessible. Lack of knowledge of this policy is not an excuse for failure to observe it. Questions regarding this policy can be directed to the Office of the Associate Provost for Information Resources Technology (IRT). Disregard for this policy can result in disciplinary action.

  7. Sanctions

    Violations of this policy may be subject to sanctions imposed by the University.
  8. Implementation

    1. Scope
      This document provides primary guidance concerning information technology resource usage in all areas of the University. All other policies and procedures concerning information technology resources may be more specific, but must be in compliance with this document. The Provost’s Office shall review all policies enacted by other University bodies to ensure that they are in compliance with this document. Once any policy is approved by the Provost’s Office all subsequent changes to that policy must be checked by the Provost’s Office and approved before they can take effect.
    2. Policy Modifications
      The University Senate must approve all changes to this policy. Any authorized user may propose changes to the policy. The proposal for change must be submitted to the Executive Committee of the University Senate.
  9. Other University Policies Related to this Policy Statement

    1. University Policies
      1. Faculty Handbook (pg 32): Senate Statement on Faculty Ethics
      2. Student Handbook
      3. Computing Services
      4. Library: Computer Use Policy
    2. Other Policies
      1. Copyright & The Internet
        Copyright Website Public Domain Material U.S.
        Copyright Office
      2. General Copyright
        Copyright Statement Copyright and Intellectual
        Property Resources Copyright Registration
        General Information About Copyright