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Acceptable Use Policy

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Purpose and Scope of This Document

This document describes conditions for the use of information technologies at North Central College. This document does not attempt to address every situation encountered in the use of information technologies at North Central College, but is intended to establish a framework in which each situation may be evaluated. If users have questions about whether a specific use of information technologies facilities or services is authorized, it is the user's responsibility to ask an Information Technology Services (hereafter, "ITS") staff member. Ignorance of these policies will not be considered an excuse. This document is supplemented by all other applicable College policies and procedures governing the conduct of students, faculty and staff.

1.2 Revision and Distribution of This Document

This Statement of Acceptable Use will be periodically revised by North Central College's Information Technology Services and reviewed by the appropriate College authorities before distribution. Copies of revisions will be made available to all users on the NCC Intranet, the Student Handbook and via other means of distribution as appropriate.

1.3 Purpose of Information Technologies

The purpose of information technologies at North Central College is to create and maintain an infrastructure to support the College's basic missions of teaching, learning and research. While limited personal use of the College's information technologies is permitted, any use of information technologies not directly related to instructional, administrative or research activities of the College may be terminated immediately and without warning.

1.4 What Constitutes Information Technologies

Information technologies at North Central College includes, but is not limited to, terminals, computers, computer peripherals, computer data networks, computer software, data storage media, communication devices, telephones, telecommunications equipment, telecommunications networks, fax machines, video equipment and video networks, as well as any other machine or network to which North Central College provides access or is connected.

In addition to the policies outlined in this document, any network traffic exiting the College (e.g. via Internet) is subject to any acceptable use policies of the networks through which it flows (such as ICN, Verio, etc.). If users abuse networks to which the College belongs, or the computing services at other sites connected to those networks, the College will treat this matter as an abuse of the user's North Central College information technology privileges.

1.5 Disclaimer of Editorial Control

North Central College is a carrier of information and not a publisher. As a carrier, the College is not expected to be aware of, or directly responsible for, materials that users of its information technologies post, send or publish via e-mail, voice mail, the World Wide Web or other means.

1.6 Account Eligibility and Use

The use of information technologies at North Central College is a privilege available to all NCC students, faculty and staff. User privileges may also be granted on a selective basis to persons not directly affiliated with the College who are assisting or participating in a College-sponsored program. In return for obtaining account privileges, all users of information technologies agree to comply with this Statement of Acceptable Use and adhere to individual departmental or unit lab and system policies, procedures and protocols.

When persons cease their affiliation with the College (cease to be an enrolled student, leave the employment of the College, or are no longer involved in an affiliated program) their privileges to use information technologies may be revoked without prior notice. In addition, the College reserves the right to limit or restrict access to its information technologies.

Users are responsible for safeguarding their files, identification codes and passwords, and for using them for their intended purposes only. Each user is responsible for all transactions made under the authorization of his or her ID, and for all network activity originating from his or her data jack. Users are solely responsible for their personal use of information technology resources and are prohibited from representing or implying that the content constitutes the views or policies of the College. Users are not to use an alias or perform any activity that alters or eliminates their login ID or makes it appear that another performed their actions.

Do not share your password and do not use anyone else's password. If a user has reason to believe their password has become known by another user, it is the user's responsibility to change it immediately.

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2.0 Responsible Use

2.1 Expectation of Civil Conduct

All users are to utilize information technologies in a responsible manner. Users are to respect the rights of others, respect the integrity of physical facilities and network management systems, and respect all pertinent licensing and contractual agreements entered into by the College.

Users are not to use information technologies to originate, disseminate, or store material that: is libelous; violates copyright or other intellectual property law; intimidates, threatens, or harasses individuals or groups in violation of law or College policy; violates community obscenity standards as defined by the US Supreme Court; endangers the security of information technologies; or violates other state or federal law or College policy. For example, the unauthorized duplication and distribution of sound recording (e.g. copyrighted MP3) and the use of the College logo and/or name on a web site without permission of the College is a violation of copyright.

Users are not to deliberately damage information technology resources; attempt to obtain or access resources to which they are not authorized; uncover security loopholes; attempt to access protected files or decrypt encrypted materials; modify system or network facilities, operating systems or other installed software, or disk partitions; attempt to crash or tie up computers or networks; monitor data, packets, signals or other information unless specifically authorized by ITS; or damage College computing facilities, equipment, software or computer files.

2.2 Use of Information Technologies Equipment and Resources

Any information technology equipment belonging to North Central College, including but not limited to computers, peripherals, software media, telephones and telecommunications equipment, and data, telephone and video network cabling.  It is not to be tampered with or moved from its original location without the permission of Information Technology Services. Residence Hall computing network services and wiring may not be modified or extended beyond the areas of intended use; this applies to all network wiring, hardware and in-room jacks.

IP addresses are to be assigned solely by ITS or by automated mechanisms implemented by ITS or its explicit designees. Use of IP addresses other than those assigned as described above is a violation of this Statement of Acceptable Use.

Users are expected to not deliberately perform actions which are injurious to or wasteful of information technologies, or which unfairly monopolize resources to the exclusion of others. These actions include, but are not limited to: sending chain letters or other forms of mass mailings (also known as "spam"); creating unnecessary multiple jobs or processes; degrading the performance of a computer or network; creating, distributing or running computer viruses, Trojan horses, or worms; and printing excessive copies of documents.

Computers owned by students in residence halls and connected to the College's data network may not be configured so as to be accessible to anyone outside of North Central College for any purpose.

2.3 Personal/Recreational Use

While limited personal use of information technologies is permitted, the use of resources for personal or recreational purposes that may bog down the network when others need these resources to complete work or coursework will be considered an irresponsible use of information technologies. Any use of information technologies not directly related to the primary instructional, administrative or research activities of the College may be terminated immediately and without warning if it interferes with primary activities. In addition, users must not use the College's information technologies for personal financial gain or political activity that would jeopardize the College's tax-exempt status. In addition, using email to solicit sales or conduct business, setting up a web page to advertise or sell a service, or posting advertisements to a newsgroup constitutes commercial use.

2.4 Use of Computer Software

Computer software protected by copyright is not to be copied using College resources except as permitted by law or contract with the owner of the copyright. If North Central College has a site license specifically permitting the copying of software, users must not copy site-licensed software for distribution to persons other than College students, faculty or staff. Users may not copy site-licensed software for use at locations not covered under the terms of the licensing agreement.

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3.0 Free Expression and Privacy

3.1 Free Expression

It is important that users recognize that many computer systems, especially the Internet, may contain information considered offensive or unorthodox. Users are advised to take responsibility for their own use and navigation of these resources. Users are free from censorship in expressing their views through electronic communications facilities (including, but not limited to, e-mail and "talk" or "chat" programs) as long as their views are not represented as the views of North Central College. Within this framework of free expression, however, users are not to use College information technologies to originate, disseminate, or store material that: is libelous; violates copyright or other intellectual property law; intimidates, threatens, or harasses individuals or groups in violation of law or College policy; violates community obscenity standards as defined by the US Supreme Court; endangers the security of information technologies; or violates other state or federal law or College policy.

3.2 Privacy and Integrity of Information

Although it is the College's intention to provide and preserve the security of files, account numbers, authorization codes and passwords, security can be breached through actions or causes beyond its reasonable control. The College cannot guarantee the absolute security, confidentiality and integrity of a user's information. It is the user's responsibility to safeguard data, personal information, passwords, and authorization codes; to take full advantage of security mechanisms built into systems; to choose passwords wisely and change them periodically; and to follow any security policies and procedures related to the access and use of data.

Users are to respect the privacy of other users. Programs, data files and the contents of voice mail are considered confidential unless they have been explicitly made available to other users; the ability to access a file or other information does not imply permission to do so. Deletion, examination, copying or modification of files or data belonging to other users without their prior consent is prohibited. Users shall not intentionally seek information on, obtain copies of, or modify passwords belonging to others.

ITS staff will make every effort to ensure the privacy of user files and voice mailboxes and will hold in strict confidence anything they discover in user files or voice mailboxes except when they have reason to suspect a violation of College policy or of the law. Information belonging to users will only be disclosed to College authorities that are empowered by College policies and procedures to handle charges of improper conduct, including but not limited to the Dean of Students, the Dean of Faculty and the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources.

3.3 Special Warning on the Privacy of E-mail

E-mail is not a secure medium and the privacy of e-mail messages cannot be guaranteed. Users are strongly advised to not send sensitive or confidential material via e-mail.

3.4 Monitoring Use of Information Technologies

ITS staff will not intentionally monitor the use of information technologies by specific users unless (1) it is necessary to maintain or improve the functioning of the College technology systems (2) there is reason to suspect a violation of College policy or (3) there is a violation of state or federal law. Individuals using the College's information technologies without authority, or in excess of their authority, are subject to having their activities monitored and recorded by ITS staff. In the course of monitoring individuals who are improperly using information technologies, or in the course of system maintenance, the activities of authorized users may also be monitored. Anyone using North Central College's information technologies expressly consents to such monitoring and is advised that if such monitoring reveals possible evidence of criminal activity, ITS staff may provide evidence from such monitoring to the appropriate College and/or law enforcement officials, including but not limited to the Dean of Students, the Dean of Faculty and the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources.

4.0 Data Security and Backups

4.1 Data Security

Viruses, Trojan horses, worms, password breakers and packet observer programs are known to exist at other colleges and may be introduced into North Central College's information technology infrastructure. Although every reasonable effort will be made to detect and eradicate dangerous and unethical hardware and software, it is the user's responsibility to be aware that such hardware or software exists and take appropriate precautions. In particular, a program should never be run, especially on a networked computer, unless the user knows what the program does and trusts the source.

4.2 Backups

While regular network backups include personal account files, it is the sole responsibility of the user to make backups or copies of important data. There is no guarantee that lost data can be recovered from a network backup.

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5.0 Violations of Policy

Violation of these guidelines constitutes unacceptable use of information technologies, and may violate other College policies and/or state and federal law. The appropriate College authorities and/or law enforcement agencies will process violations. Violations may result in revocation of computing resource privileges; faculty, staff or student disciplinary action; or legal action. Grievance procedures regarding actions taken as a result of enforcing this policy should be initiated with the Dean of Students for students, the Dean of the Faculty for faculty, and the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources for all other employees.

In time-sensitive cases or when required to meet critical operational needs, access to technology may be wholly or partially restricted without prior notice and without consent. Suspected violations of law or College policy will be investigated. Upon discovery of evidence of unauthorized or irresponsible use of information technologies, ITS staff may immediately and without warning restrict or suspend a user's information technology privileges in order to prevent further activity, and may also delete or move any files or other information stored which appear to be involved in the suspected violation. Violations of law or College policy will be reported to appropriate College officials who will deal with the suspected violations through procedures that already exist for other types of misconduct.

6.0 Reporting Abuses

You can report an abuse of this policy to either the Dean of Students, the Dean of the Faculty, the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, the Assistant Vice President of Information Technology Services, or the Director of Campus Safety. Your report will be kept confidential. It would be helpful to include copies of any document or communication that is relevant as well as dates and times of the occurrence, etc.

7.0 Questions

If you have any questions related to acceptable use of North Central College Information Technologies, please contact a member of the ITS staff either by telephone or by visiting the Information Technology Services Department located at 110 Carnegie.

Reviewed: 5/11/16

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