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Internet and Computer Use

Belmont University provides access to the Internet and e-mail to all its students and employees who comply with the Internet Use Policy. The university expects that all those who exercise this privilege will do so responsibly. It has therefore developed this policy statement to assist Internet users in the appropriate use of network technology. This statement is intended to address the following usage situations:

  • Use of university-owned computing resources (i.e. computer labs, computers at workstations) by students, employees or guests of the university.
  • Use of Belmont resources to access information on the Internet and campus e-mail.
  • Use of Belmont resources to provide information to other Internet users (via a Web page, etc.).All current Belmont faculty, staff and students may obtain an Internet account through Information Technology Services (ITS). The university reserves the right to exercise its discretion in limiting access to its computing resources.
  • Users will be responsible for any use of those accounts by others to whom access has been given. The university recommends that users change their passwords periodically to prevent unauthorized use of their accounts.
  • When a student is no longer enrolled in the university or when an employee is no longer employed by the university, Belmont reserves the right to delete that individual's account and/or any personal pages on the World Wide Web operated by that individual.

I. Email Privacy

Electronic mail enables users to place information quickly and directly into another person's computer where it can be retrieved, read, revised, stored indefinitely, downloaded or responded to immediately. E-mail has made employment and academic activities of the university more efficient by enabling us to make better use of our time. However, inappropriate e-mail usage can be problematic. Mislead persons may believe that private, hostile or unlawful statements can be confidentially communicated through e-mail. In addition, proprietary or potentially embarrassing information can be accidentally or purposely sent within the university and to others outside the university. To avoid these problems, remember the following:

  • Refrain from disclosing your access codes/passwords to anyone.
  • Send e-mail only from your personal e-mail address.
  • Belmont's e-mail system is for use by faculty, staff and students in carrying out their employment and academic activities. It is not intended for personal use.
  • Prior to sending an e-mail message, ask yourself whether you would feel comfortable if the text of the message were posted on a bulletin board on campus or printed in the newspaper. Would public disclosure cause unnecessary embarrassment or create liability?
  • The privacy of e-mail sent or received on university equipment cannot be guaranteed.


  • If the e-mail pertains to a student, it is likely to be an "educational record" that the student will have the right to inspect and review.
  • The use of private "mailboxes" and passwords in an e-mail system does not provide any privacy from people who will see e-mail forwarded, printed out or left displayed on an unattended computer screen.
  • Belmont makes no representations regarding the security of the e-mail system from casual users or hackers.
  • Although it is a violation of university policy and ethics for members of the ITS staff to monitor the content of e-mail messages, e-mail will be accessed and read by others who have a need to know in the event that the university conducts an investigation. Or, if Belmont is involved in litigation, e-mail messages may be read in the discovery process and may be publicized in a trial.

While no one can guarantee that any particular form of communication between will be completely confidential, you may wish to minimize the chance that a sensitive communication sent via e-mail is misdirected or accessed without permission by sending the communication through regular mail, campus mail or by personal delivery. If you have no need of a record of the communication, consider sharing your information through person-to-person conversation.

II. Software Ethics

Belmont University prohibits the illegal use of software on campus. If software has been copyrighted and/or received under license, the following will be considered lawful use of that software:

  • Use only by those persons authorized under the software license agreement.
  • Making backup copies for one's personal use.
  • Configuring the software and making other reasonable modifications specifically designed to fit the software to the user's needs.
  • Selling or giving the original copy and documentation to another, provided that the transferor keeps no copies whatsoever of either the software or documentation and provides the transferee only with original copies. (This assumes that the copy of the software is owned rather than borrowed or issued.)

The following are actions that are considered illegal. Belmont may apply sanctions to those who engage in these actions.

  • Providing copies of copyrighted or licensed software to others while maintaining copies for one's own use, unless there is a specific provision in the license allowing such activity. The activity is forbidden even if the software is provided without cost for an educational purpose.
  • Using software or documentation knowingly obtained in violation of the copyright law or a valid license provision. Use of a copy of a copyrighted program obtained from another party where no license permits such reproduction or transfer will be presumed to be a knowing violation of copyright or license provisions. The burden of demonstrating that the use was innocent will rest with the user.
  • Using a copyrighted program on more than one machine at the same time unless a specific license provision permits such activity.

Commercial Use.  Since Belmont University is defined as an educational rather than commercial site on the Internet, commercial use of Belmont's computing resources is prohibited. Belmont reserves the right to restrict accounts and remove individual Web pages that are used for commercial purposes. 

Illegal Use.  Users are to refrain from any use of computing resources that is in violation of local, state or federal law.

Inappropriate uses of Internet Access.  There are numerous appropriate uses of the Internet:  e-mail, bulletin boards, access to information on the World Wide Web, etc.  Belmont encourages the educational and appropriate use of these resources.  All uses of Internet resources should be consistent with the university's Community Commitments, The Bruin Guide, the Faculty Handbook, and the Staff Handbook.

Harassing and/or Obscene Material.  For the purpose of this policy, obscenity is defined as:

  • 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.
  • Materials that, when taking its content and particular usage or application as a whole, lacks any redeeming literary, scientific, political, artistic or social value.

Internet users at Belmont are to refrain from:

  • Displaying or distributing material (text, audio or video) that is obscene or harassing or that is in any way inconsistent with Belmont's Community Commitments.
  • Sending information via e-mail that is obscene or harassing as defined by Belmont's Community Commitments.
  • Making public to Belmont users any obscene materials or direct links to other locations on the Internet through the World Wide Web, or any other systems.

III. 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. Such acts include knowingly spreading computer viruses and sending excessively large mailings, large print jobs, batch programs, ‘junk mail' (including chain letters), etc. Those who use computing resources for recreation, entertainment, personal and extracurricular work are to yield to those who have academic need for the computer resources or facilities. Examples of non-academic use are playing computer games, printing personal or extracurricular materials (invitations, announcements, resumes, etc.) and chatting to personal friends. In periods of high demand, these uses may be disallowed in computer labs.

IV. Violations
  Any conduct associated with software, compute, and internet use that does not follow the policy or is not align with the university's Community Commitments is subject to disciplinary action outlined below:

  • 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 that are found to be obscene, loss of computer resource use privileges and other sanctions available within the university employer-employee relationship.
  • Student Violations.  Individuals may report incidents of harassment or obscene material or direct links involving students' Internet use to the Office of the Dean of Students, which will review any complaint per established university judicial procedures as outlined in the student handbook, The Bruin Guide. Possible sanctions include the deletion from Belmont servers of materials or direct links to other locations on the Internet that are found to be obscene, loss of computer resources use and other sanctions available within the judicial processes.