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Computer Use Policy

Computing resources and electronic information are provided to members of the Bates College faculty, staff and student body and to authorized guests in order to accomplish the work of the college. Users of Bates College information systems are expected to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the college’s Statement of Community Principles, this computer use policy, all other college policies, and state and federal law. While it can not address every possible situation that may arise, this policy delineates restrictions, expectations and obligations that apply in particular to the electronic resources of the college. If violations of law or college policy are discovered or suspected, college personnel may report the activity to appropriate college officials or external authorities or take other action including, but not limited to, suspension of user accounts or initiation of disciplinary or legal action.

  1. Computing resources are shared by all Bates users. You must not alter the normal functioning of the computing system or engage in activities that impair the operation or security of the college’s network or computer systems. The college may take any action required to protect the integrity of its systems, to prevent or stop illegal use of its systems, or to prevent or stop users from impeding the use of the systems by others. When necessary, the college may block access from any computer, system, network, or other access point.
  2. You must not intentionally distribute viruses, worms, Trojan horses, corrupted files, hoaxes, or other items of a destructive or deceptive nature on any computer system controlled by the college.  Additionally, facilitation or distribution of bulk commercial email (spam) is prohibited.
  3. All files and computer output belong to someone. If you have not been given direct permission to access or copy a file, you are not permitted to do so. The fact that certain activities are technically feasible does not mean that they are acceptable. You must abide by all applicable laws and restrictions, whether or not they are built into the operating system or network and whether or not they can be circumvented by technical means. You must not intentionally access any areas of the information technology resources of the college to which you do not have authorization and you may not exceed any access for which you are authorized.
  4. All information in the college’s administrative systems, regardless of format or location, is property of the college and is available only to authorized users. College data may also be protected by privacy laws such as FERPA. If you have access to such information you are required to exercise proper stewardship of it and to protect it from unauthorized disclosure.
  5. If you take a computer hardware or software abroad, you are responsible for complying with any applicable export controls or other federal regulations. If you plan to travel with a college-owned computer, the college may be able to provide you with a temporary laptop or mobile device or prepare your assigned laptop or mobile device so that US export restrictions are respected. It is possible that the computer or software you regularly use may be prohibited.
  6. You should put password protection on any mobile device you use for college business, and should not download and store college data on mobile devices or computers that are not property of the college.
  7. You are provided with credentials and passwords in order to provide positive identification as you access computers and other system resources. You are responsible for all computing activities that occur using your credentials. All passwords and PINs are the property of the college and are non-transferrable. You must not share your password or PIN with anyone, and no one has the right to ask you for them. If you believe your password or PIN has been compromised in any way, you must change it immediately.
  8. The college takes great care to protect the confidentiality of information stored on its computer systems, but the college can not guarantee confidentiality. Information that is owned by the college or stored on equipment controlled by the college is subject to discovery and disclosure according to state and federal law and college policy. The college reserves the right to access, monitor, remove, and disclose your communications or other data stored on college computer systems. If you add security protection to computer resources owned or controlled by the college, such as hardware, folders or files, or to college data in any format or location, you must give the college access to those resources upon request.
  9. In the event of an official investigation or an actual or threatened lawsuit against Bates or a person at Bates, the college may be obligated to retain records. The college may require you to retain certain records, and will employ technical means at its disposal to preserve relevant documents and records, including email.
  10. The college does not monitor contents of files as a matter of course, but does monitor network and other computer usage. The college may become aware of violations of the law or college policy. If violations are discovered or suspected, college personnel may report the activity to appropriate college officials or external authorities or take other action, including, but not limited to: warning the user, removing the material, terminating access to the material, terminating network access to the computer, and/or initiating disciplinary action.
  11. Bates College computing systems are available to the Bates community to further the educational goals of the college. Bates College does not permit you to use its computing resources to support commercial enterprises you may have, your work on behalf of political candidates or as an elected official, not-for-profit activities unrelated to the educational goals of the college, or any activity that could compromise the tax-exempt status of the college. Reasonable use of college-owned or operated computing resources for personal non-commercial purposes is permitted if it does not entail a direct cost to the college, impede network operations, or violate college policies. If you are in doubt about a particular case you should contact the Vice President for Information and Library Services.

This policy is subject to change without prior notice.

Revised—November 18, 2013