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This document borrows extensively from and replicates significant portions of the University of Delaware's "Policy for Responsible Computing." The University of Delaware was awarded CAUSE's "Best Practices in Service" award for 1995 for this work. Local modifications and editing were performed by a committee of HSU users in 1996, including faculty, staff, and students, appointed by the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Some wording in the document was updated in 2001 to bring it into conformance with the California State University 4CNet Appropriate Use Policy (2000) and its Recommended Contextual Standards for Appropriate Use Policies (2000).
It is imperative that all users of the University's computing, communications, and information resources realize how much these resources require responsible behavior. Simply put, we are all responsible for the well-being of the computing, network, and information resources we use. Universities do try to promote the open exchange of ideas; however, an open, cooperative computing network can be vulnerable to abuse or misuse. As more and more schools, colleges, universities, businesses, government agencies, and other enterprises become attached to world-wide computing and information networks, it is more important than ever that this University educate its students, faculty, and staff about proper ethical behavior, acceptable computing practices, and copyright and licensing issues. A modern university must also educate its students, faculty, and staff about how computer abuse can interfere with the exchange of ideas that is integral to a modern education. The first item in the body of this document is the Policy for Responsible Computing at Humboldt State University, approved by the Executive Committee of Humboldt State University on September 19, 1996. The remainder of this document consists of guidelines for implementing this policy. If you have any questions about the policy or the guidelines, please consult with the Technology Help Desk or other staff in Information Technology Services; with your dean, project director, supervisor, chair, or advisor; or with the Campus Information Security Officer.
In support of its mission of teaching, research, and public service, Humboldt State University provides access to computing, communications, and information resources for students, faculty, and staff within the scope of institutional priorities and financial capabilities. The Humboldt State University Appropriate Use Policy contains the governing philosophy for regulating faculty, student, and staff use of the University's computing, communications, and information resources. It spells out the general principles regarding appropriate use of data, equipment, software, and networks. By adopting this policy, the Executive Committee of Humboldt State University recognizes that all members of the University are also bound by local, state, and federal laws and other statutes relating to copyright, security, electronic media and intellectual property.
All users of the University's computing, communications, and information resources must act responsibly. Every user is responsible for the integrity of these resources. All users of University-owned or University-leased computing and communications systems, whether managed directly or indirectly by the campus, must respect the rights of other computing and communications users, respect the integrity of the physical facilities and controls, and respect all pertinent license and contractual agreements. It is the policy of Humboldt State University that all members of its community act in accordance with these responsibilities, relevant laws and contractual obligations, and the relevant faculty, staff and student standard of ethics and conduct. Additionally, all users must comply with the California State University CENIC Appropriate Use Policy.
The University reserves the right to limit, restrict, or extend computing privileges and access to its information resources. Access to the University's computing and communications facilities is a privilege granted to University students, faculty, and staff. Access to University information resources may be granted by the data owners based on the data owner's judgment, which would include the following factors: relevant laws and contractual obligations, the requestor's need to know, the information's sensitivity, and the risk of damage to or loss by the University.
Data owners--whether departments, units, faculty, students, or staff--may allow individuals other than University faculty, staff, and students access to information for which they are responsible through methods approved by and at the discretion of the University's Information Technology Services, so long as such access does not violate any license or contractual agreement; University policy; or any federal, state, county, or local law or ordinance; or degrade the performance of the University's information service to the detriment of the University community.
University computing and communications facilities and accounts are to be used for the University-related activities for which they are assigned. All computing and network resources are provided only to support the academic mission of the University. University computing and communications resources are not to be used for commercial purposes or non University-related activities without written authorization from the University. If the University grants such authorization, the University may assess appropriate charges to recover the costs of providing such services. This policy applies equally to all University-owned or University-leased computers and network resources.
Abuse of computing and/or communications privileges is subject to disciplinary action as well as loss of computing and communications privileges and/or the assessment of fines to recover any costs for investigations and the value of resources used. Abuse of the University's computing and communications resources may also result in loss of University privileges, dismissal, or civil/criminal action. Nothing in these guidelines precludes enforcement under the laws and regulations of the State of California, any municipality or county therein, and/or the United States of America. For example, if a user is found guilty of committing a computer crime as outlined in the California Penal Code 502, Computer Crimes, and 502.1, Computer crime penalty, forfeiture of property, he or she could be subject to the penalties for a felony.
The use of electronic communications in violation of University policies on affirmative action and nondiscrimination is subject to disciplinary action under those policies and also violates this Appropriate Use Policy. University policy statements on affirmative action and nondiscrimination (including harassment) are available in the Office of Institutional Equity, Affirmative Action, and Diversity. Disciplinary actions pursuant to violations of the Appropriate Use Policy are defined herein.
Appropriate University administrative officers should adopt guidelines for the implementation of this policy within each unit and regularly revise these guidelines as circumstances, including but not limited to changes in technology, warrant. Copies of these guidelines should be forwarded to the Chief Information Officer. The Chief Information Officer shall, from time to time, recommend adjustments to the guidelines to assist departments and units with this effort.
As an aid to a better understanding of responsible computing practices, all departments that own or lease computing equipment are encouraged to develop "Conditions Of Use" documentation for all systems that they operate and to make these documents available to users. These documents must be consistent with the Humboldt State University Appropriate Use Policy and should be approved by the department's administrative officer or other individual designated by that administrative officer.
Users and system administrators must all guard against abuses that disrupt or threaten the viability of all systems, including those at the University and those on networks to which the University's systems are connected. Access to information resources without proper authorization from the data owner, unauthorized use of University computing or communications facilities, or intentional corruption or misuse of information resources is forbidden, and may subject the violator to sanctions available under this and/or other University policies and/or civil and/or criminal liability under the California Penal Code 502 Computer Crimes and 502.01 Computer crime penalty, forfeiture of property.
If you use the University's computing resources or facilities, you have the following responsibilities:
Information Technology Services personnel's use of the University's computing resources is governed by the same guidelines as any other user's computing activity. However, Information Technology Services personnel have additional responsibilities to the users of the University's networks, sites, and systems:
If an Information Technology Services employee:
then he or she should follow the University's agreed procedure for investigating computer security incidents.
The University characterizes misuse of computing and information resources and privileges as improper and as just cause for taking disciplinary action and/or revoking computer privileges. Misuse of computing and information resources and privileges includes, but is not restricted to, the following:
If staff in the Department of Public Safety or Information Technology Services have information that intentional or malicious misuse of computing resources has occurred, and if that evidence points to the computing activities or the computer files of an individual, they have the obligation to pursue any or all of the following steps to protect the user community:
Students are reminded that computer-assisted plagiarism is still plagiarism. Unless specifically authorized by a class instructor, all of the following uses of a computer are violations of the University's guidelines for academic honesty and are punishable as acts of plagiarism:
The software made available by the University has been licensed by the University for your use. As a result, its use may be subject to certain limitations.
The University is not responsible for loss of information from computing misuse, malfunction of computing hardware, malfunction of computing software, or external contamination of data or programs. The staff in central computing units such as Information Technology Services and all other system administrators must make every effort to ensure the integrity of the University's computer systems and the information stored thereon. However, users must be aware that no security or back-up system is 100% foolproof.
employee of the University with supervisory responsibility over a unit of the University which operates Information Resources.
the combination of a user number, user name, or userid and a password that allows an individual access to a shared computer s and networks.
the individual or department that can authorize access to information, data, or software and that is responsible for the integrity and accuracy of that information, data, or software. The data owner can be the author of the information, data, or software or can be the individual or department that has negotiated a license for the University's use of the information, data, or software.
consists of the President, Executive Assistant to the President and the three Vice Presidents of the University.
in the context of these Guidelines, this phrase refers to data or information and the software and hardware that makes that data or information available to users.
a group of computers and peripherals that share information electronically, typically connected to each other by either cable or satellite link.
the amount of disk space, memory, printing, etc., allocated to your computer account.
special-purpose devices attached to a computer or computer network--for example, printers, scanners, plotters, etc.
person charged with administering a group of computer accounts and the computing resources used by the people using those computer accounts.
a computer that contains information shared by other computers on a network.
programs, data, or information stored on magnetic media (tapes, disks, diskettes, cassettes, etc.). Usually used to refer to computer programs.
someone who does not have system administrator responsibilities for a computer system or network but who makes use of that computer system or network. A user is still responsible for his or her use of the computer and for learning proper data management strategies.
Approved: September 19, 1996
Revised: March 16, 2001
Revision approved: April 5, 2001
Please refer comments and questions regarding this document to the Campus Information Security Officer at