Responsible Use of University Computing and Electronic Communication Resources

University Policy 307, Responsible Use of University Computing and Electronic Communication Resources

Executive Summary: 

The computing and electronic communication resources that UNC Charlotte provides for faculty, staff, and students are essential to carrying out the University's primary missions of instruction, research, and public service. Protecting and preserving University computing and electronic communication resources is a cooperative effort that requires each member of the University community to act responsibly and guard against abuses. This policy sets forth standards of responsible use, which demonstrate respect for unobstructed access, intellectual property rights, truth in communication, ownership of data, system security and integrity, and individuals' rights. Responsible use includes, but is not limited to, respecting the rights of other users, sustaining the integrity of systems and related physical resources, and observing all relevant policies, laws, regulations, and contractual obligations.

I. Introduction

The computing and electronic communication resources that UNC Charlotte provides for faculty, staff, and students are essential to carrying out the University's primary missions of instruction, research, and public service. Protecting and preserving University computing and electronic communication resources is a cooperative effort that requires each member of the University community to act responsibly and guard against abuses.
 
The University's computing and electronic communication resources include its servers, networking facilities, email system, personal computers, software, video distribution system, and telephone system. This policy applies to all users of UNC Charlotte computing and electronic communication resources, including faculty, staff, students, guests, individuals not otherwise affiliated with the University, and external organizations and individuals accessing external network services, such as the Internet, through University facilities.

II. Standards of Responsible Use

Responsible use of University computing and electronic communication resources demonstrates respect for unobstructed access, intellectual property rights, truth in communication, ownership of data, system security and integrity, and individuals' rights. Responsible use includes, but is not limited to, respecting the rights of other users, sustaining the integrity of systems and related physical resources, and complying with all relevant policies, laws, regulations, and contractual obligations.
 
Use of University computing and electronic communication resources is conditioned upon the obligation of each user to adhere to the following standards of responsible use:
  1. Observe all federal and state laws, as well as policies of UNC Charlotte and the University of North Carolina Board of Governors in the use of University computing and electronic communication resources. The University may take any immediate steps necessary to deal with alleged violations of law or policy, including removing illegal material from the University server or other University computing or electronic communication resources.
  2. Respect the privacy and personal rights of others by ensuring that use of University computing and electronic communication resources  does not constitute invasion of privacy, harassment, defamation, threats, intimidation, unwarranted annoyance or embarrassment, or discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, disability, age, religion, or sexual orientation.
  3. Respect and preserve the performance, integrity, and security of University computing and electronic communication resources. Ensure that use of those resources does not circumvent system security and does not achieve or aid others to achieve unauthorized access. The University may take any immediate steps necessary to deal with threats to performance or degradation of its computing and electronic communication resources.
  4. Protect the purpose of University computing and electronic communication resources to carry out the University's primary missions by ensuring that use does not result in improper commercial gain for the University, or personal commercial gain or private profit, except as allowed under University research and intellectual property policies; University Policy 102.1, "External Professional Activities of Faculty and Other Professional Staff Exempt from the State Personnel Act"; and corresponding policies and rules applicable to employees covered by the State Personnel Act.
  5. Respect the intellectual property rights of others by ensuring that use of University computing and electronic communication resources does not violate any copyright or trademark laws, University licensing agreements (including licensed software), or University Policy 301, "Patent Policy."

III. Authorization

The University provides authorization to use University computing resources with the creation of a user ID and password. Students, faculty, and staff obtain a user ID when they commence enrollment or employment at the University. The user ID will provide access to basic computing services such as use of email, access to office automation software, the Internet, and access to systems and information that are provided based on the group the person belongs to or the position he or she holds at the University. Applicable departments or units will provide access to additional resources as appropriate.

IV. Appropriate Uses

Examples of computer and network uses that are encouraged, with the appropriate authorization if necessary, include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Use of microcomputers in student labs for class assignments;
  • Instructor preparation;
  • Thesis and dissertation research support;
  • Publishable research;
  • Personal computing to improve computing literacy, or to learn new computer hardware and software;
  • Use of public computers for review of generally available individual or campus information;
  • Use of computers provided by the university to faculty and staff in support of their work;
  • Approved use of the university's information and administrative systems; and
  • Use of Internet resources to promote collegial interaction and research.

V. Violation of Policy

Violations of responsible use of University computing and electronic communication resources include, but are not limited to, the following:
  1. Use of another user’s User ID without his or her authorization;
  2. Accessing or transmitting information that belongs to another user or for which no authorization has been granted;
  3. Any attempt to make unauthorized changes to information stored on the University’s computer systems;
  4. Unauthorized copying of information stored on the University’s computer systems;
  5. Tapping phone or network lines in violation of any federal or state law;
  6. Any action that jeopardizes the availability or integrity of any University computing, communication, or information resource;
  7. Use of IT resources that interferes with work of other students, faculty, or staff or the normal operation of the University computing systems;
  8. Any attempt to bypass the University IT security systems;
  9. Copying or distributing without authorization software licensed to UNC Charlotte;
  10. Violation of federal, state or local laws, including copyright infringement;
  11. Use of University-owned IT resources for commercial purposes; and
  12. Use of electronic mail messages or Web pages that constitute invasion of privacy, harassment, defamation, threats, intimidation, unwarranted annoyance or embarrassment, or discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, disability, age, religion, or sexual orientation.
Failure to use UNC Charlotte computing and electronic communication resources responsibly in accordance with the standards set forth in this policy threatens the atmosphere for the sharing of information, the free exchange of ideas, and the secure environment for creating and maintaining information. Any member of the University community who violates this policy may be subject to disciplinary action under appropriate University disciplinary procedures.
 
The University may take such action as may be necessary in its discretion to address any use violation(s) under this policy, including termination of a user’s account. In addition, UNC Charlotte reserves the right to limit or restrict the use of its computing and electronic communication resources when there is evidence of a violation of applicable University policies, contractual agreements, or state or federal laws.
 
Revision History: 

Initially approved May 23, 1983
Revised January 31, 2000
Revised September 27, 2002