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Acceptable Use Policy

Acceptable Use Policy

Introduction

Belmont University’s Library and Information Technology Services (LITS) computer resources are intended to support the educational, administrative, and campus life activities of the university. The use of these Computer Resources is a privilege extended to members of the Belmont community, who are expected to act in a responsible, ethical, and legal manner.

PURPOSE

In general, acceptable use entails behavior that respects the rights of others, does not compromise the security or integrity of computer and network resources, and complies with all applicable laws and license agreements.   This policy establishes specific requirements for the use of computing and network resources at Belmont University.  As with other university policies, violation of the Acceptable Use Policy can result in disciplinary action.

SCOPE

This policy applies to all users of computer and network resources owned or managed by Belmont University. Resources include all university owned, licensed, or managed hardware and software, as well as the university network, regardless of the ownership of the device connected to the network, the means of connecting, or the locale from which the connection is made.

POLICY

Federal, State, and Local Laws. Users must comply with all federal, state, and other applicable law; all applicable university rules and procedures; and all applicable licenses and contracts. Examples include but are not limited to laws pertaining to libel, copyright, trademark, child pornography, and hacking; the Bruin Guide and other codes of conduct; the Employee and Faculty Handbooks; the universities’ sexual misconduct policy; and all applicable software licenses.

Authorization. Users may use only those IT resources they are authorized to use, in the manner and to the extent authorized, and they must not attempt to subvert or bypass university-imposed security mechanisms. Ability to access computers, computer accounts, computer files, or other IT resources does not, by itself, imply authorization to do so. Accounts and passwords may not be shared with or used by persons other than those to whom they have been assigned by the university. Users must make a reasonable effort to protect passwords and secure resources against unauthorized use.

Fair Share of Resources. Users must respect the finite capacity of the university’s IT resources and limit their use so as not to consume an unreasonable amount of those resources or to interfere unreasonably with the activity of other users. LITS may set limits on an individual’s use of IT resources or require that an individual user refrain from specific uses in order to assure that these resources can be used by anyone who needs them. Reasonableness of use will be assessed in the context of all relevant circumstances, but any use that degrades the performance of the university network or interferes with the ability of others to use IT resources or with the universities educational or business activities will be considered unacceptable.

Personal Use. Users may not use IT resources to campaign for or against a candidate for political office or for commercial purposes inconsistent with the university’s tax-exempt status. Personal use of university IT resources for other purposes is permitted when it does not interfere with the performance of one’s job or other university responsibilities, does not compromise the functionality or degrade the performance of IT resources, does not consume a significant amount of IT resources, and is otherwise in compliance with this policy. Further limits on personal use by university employees may be imposed in accordance with normal supervisory practices.

Commercial Use.  Since Belmont University is an educational entity rather than a commercial entity, commercial use of Belmont’s computing resources is prohibited. Users are not permitted to host commercial sites on the university’s network or use Belmont’s websites or other intellectual property to conduct or promote commercial interests.  Belmont reserves the right to restrict accounts and remove individual web pages that are used for commercial purposes.

Harassing and/or Obscene Material.   Internet users at Belmont are to refrain from displaying or distributing material (text, audio or video) which is obscene, harassing, or is in any way inconsistent with Belmont’s Statement of Values. For purposes of this policy, obscenity is defined as (1) material in which a reasonable person, applying contemporary Belmont community standards, when considering the contents as a whole, would conclude that they appeal to prurient sexual/physical interests or violently subordinating behavior rather than an intellectual or communicative purpose; and  (2) material that, when taking its content and particular usage or application as a whole, lacks any redeeming literary, scientific, political, artistic or social value.

Inappropriate Uses of Internet Access   There are numerous appropriate uses of the Internet including email, social media, and access to information on the Internet. Belmont encourages the educational and appropriate use of these resources. All uses of Internet resources should be consistent with the university’s Statement of Values.

Wasteful Use of Resources.   Users are to refrain from deliberately performing any act that will impair the operation of any facet of the computing resources of the university or the resources of any recipient of the information.   Those who use computing resources for recreation, entertainment, personal and extracurricular work are to yield to those who have academic or university business-related need for the computer resources. Examples of non-academic or university business-related use are playing computer games, printing personal or extracurricular materials (invitations, announcements, resumes, etc.) and or accessing personal social media accounts such as Twitter, Snapchat or Facebook. 

PRIVACY AND SECURITY

The university takes various measures to protect its information resources and users’ accounts. However, you should be aware that the university cannot guarantee privacy and that it is the responsibility of individual users to engage in prudent practices by establishing appropriate access restrictions for their accounts and safeguarding their passwords in accord with the Password Policy.

The normal operation of the university’s IT infrastructure requires backing up data, logging activity, monitoring general usage patterns, and other such activities. While the university does not generally review the content of information contained on a computer or transmitted over the network, exceptions are made under the following conditions:

  • when required to preserve public health and safety;
  • when required to preserve or restore system integrity or security;
  • when required by federal, state, or local law; or
  • when there are reasonable grounds to believe that IT resources are being used in violation of law or university policy.

Permission to review individual data can come only from a senior officer of the university.

Personal Responsibility.   Each individual who obtains a computer/email account, or uses the computers and network resources made available by the university, must understand that he or she is accountable for the guidelines set forth in this document. In addition, account holders assume responsibility for:

  • protecting his or her password in accord with the Password Policy
  • reporting any breach of system security
  • reporting unauthorized use of his or her account
  • changing his or her password on a regular basis
  • frequently making back-up copies of his or her work to ensure against loss
  • clearly labeling works and opinions as his/her own before they are widely distributed

COMPLIANCE

Violations of this policy will be handled according to normal disciplinary procedures. However, a user’s IT use privileges may be temporarily suspended by LITS prior to the initiation or completion of these procedures when there is a reasonable basis to believe that an individual is in violation of this policy.

Employee Violations.  Harassment or obscenity incidents involving Belmont employees may be addressed in conjunction with the employee’s supervisor. Possible sanctions include the deletion of material or direct links to other locations on the Internet which are found to be obscene, loss of computer resource use privileges and other sanctions available within the university employer-employee relationship up to and including termination.

Student Violations.  Harassment or obscenity incident involving Belmont students will be addressed in accordance with the procedures detailed within the Bruin Guide.  Possible sanctions include reprimand, fines, loss of privileges, essay requirements, required attendance at educational seminars or programs, suspension, expulsion, or dismissal from the university.

RELATED STANDARDS, POLICIES, and PROCEDURES

The Acceptable Use Policy is administered through a collection of Belmont standards. The Belmont University Acceptable Use Policy and its standards are in effect at all times.

LITS works in concert with the Dean of Students Office, Senior Leadership, and Human Resources to ensure fair and appropriate investigation, consideration, and consequences where appropriate. Users are expected to familiarize themselves with applicable Belmont standards and comply with them.

  • Password Policy
  • Email Policy
  • Wireless Communication Policy
  • Technology Purchasing Policy
  • Remote Access Policy
  • Data Classification Policy
  • 2016-2017 Belmont Bruin Guide
  • 2016-2017 Faculty Staff Handbook
  • 2016-2017 Staff Handbook
  • FERPA Policy
  • HIPPA Policy
  • Misconduct Policy

DefinitionS and Terms

USER:   Any person using any of the university’s computer or information resources, including but not limited to:

  • Faculty
  • Students
  • Alumni
  • Contractors
  • Consultants
  • Associates, honoraries and visiting staff
  • Community members and guests
  • Other users authorized by the university
  • Third parties (ex. Vendors, contractors, etc.)
  • Anyone connecting non-Belmont equipment (e.g. laptop computers) to the university network

LITS:    Library and Information Technology Services.  Belmont division that supports technology and library services for the campus.

Resources:   All Belmont University resources and facilities operated by the university – Whether owned, leased, used under license or by agreement – including, but not limited to:

  • Telephones
  • Mobile data devices
  • Desktop and laptop computers
  • Email, chat, facsimiles, mail
  • Any connection to the university’s network, or use of any part of the university’s network to access other networks
  • Connections the Internet that are intended to fulfill information processing and communications
  • Communication Services including cable TV
  • Hardware, including printers, scanners
  • Laboratories or other facilities
  • Any off-campus computers and associated peripherals and equipment provided for the purpose of university work or associated activities
  •  
Date of Change Responsible Summary of Change
May 19, 2016 Randall Reynolds,
Director of Information Security
New Policy
Oct 20, 2016 Randall Reynolds,
Director of Information Security
Update of Policy Draft
May 12, 2017 Randall Reynolds,
Director of Information Security
Update of Policy Draft