IT Usage Policy

Just as knowledge and discussion are at the heart of teaching and learning, so too are information and communications technology such as computers and networks central to the mission of the university. The guidelines that govern the use of such technology, therefore, should reflect the principles that inhere in the idea of a liberal arts college. Among these are the following:

  • that freedom of inquiry and expression are fundamental values of the liberal arts college and are abridged at our peril;
  • that inquiry and expression flourish in an atmosphere of respect and toleration, even as dissent and disagreement are encouraged, and that
  • therefore each member of the university has the right to be free from harassment;
  • that treating others with respect entails respecting others' privacy; and
  • that the successful functioning of the university depends upon the honest and responsible conduct of its members.

These principles imply both rights and responsibilities that must be balanced against one another. For example, the right to freedom of expression ends when expression becomes harassment; one's legitimate expectation of privacy ends when actions carried out in privacy seriously threaten the common good.

Information technology presents both important opportunities and the temptation for misuse. Accordingly, and for the benefit of all members of the University, the Information Technology Usage Policy stated below is intended to make clear how the balancing of these core principles is to be realized in practice.

All members of the University are expected, on pain of penalties described herein, to abide by this policy. These principles embody ethical ideals, and so the policy stated below will in some respects go beyond the mere requirements of the law.

1 - Network and Systems Integrity

Actions taken by users that interfere with or alter the integrity of the University's network or computers systems, or that use University network services to disrupt others, are prohibited. Such actions include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • unauthorized use of accounts,
  • impersonation of other individuals in communications,
  • attempts to crack or capture passwords,
  • attempts to break encryption protocols,
  • compromising privacy,
  • destruction or alteration of data or programs belonging to other users,
  • attempts to steal or destroy software,
  • creating worm, virus or other malicious processes, and
  • running programs or processes that disrupt or interfere with the University's operation of its systems, servers, computers or network.

In addition, users may not:

  • conduct experiments to identify or demonstrate system or network vulnerabilities without prior permission from the office of Information Technology Services,
  • attach network hubs, bridges, routers, or gateways to the campus network, or
  • use University static network addresses without permission from the office of Information Technology Services.  

2 - Copyright and Licensing

Illinois Wesleyan University expects individuals affiliated with the University to uphold copyright laws ensuring the protection of intellectual property, giving authors due credit, and demonstrating responsible citizenship.  In addition, all users of University-owned computers are expected to abide by software licensing agreements. No user may copy, or attempt to copy without authorization, any proprietary or licensed software provided or installed by IWU.

Illinois Wesleyan University advocates that individuals creating content proactively review publisher right's agreements before signing and retain authority over the intellectual property. Individuals are strongly encouraged to become familiar with the use of Creative Commons licenses, which allow content creators to create their own licenses and control their own rights for use.

Illinois Wesleyan University encourages individuals to be familiar with the application of the four factors comprising the doctrine of Fair Use.  Developed by the U.S. courts over many years, the Fair Use factors provide guidance in determining whether use of material in print and digital publications is legal and fair to the content creators.  Illinois Wesleyan University policy sets forth the expectations that all individuals will avoid plagiarism, and has established judicial policies to address violations.

The University recognizes its role in educating students about ethical behavior in the computer setting as elsewhere. To that end, the Chief Technology Officer will provide, on request, information about software licensing issues, while the University Librarian, as Copyright Officer, will provide information and guidance regarding copyright, publishing agreements, and rights and permissions questions.  

3 - Privacy

Illinois Wesleyan University respects every individual's rights & legitimate expectation to privacy in the electronic forum and prohibits users of university computers, including personally owned computers linked to university servers and telecommunications equipment, from violating such rights. Examples of violations of privacy rights include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • reading another person's electronic mail without consent,
  • accessing another's files without consent of that party,
  • viewing or capturing data transmitted by another user over University networks,
  • accessing without authorization electronic records on another person, and
  • using another person's password.

Users of university computers and networks should be aware that complete privacy cannot be maintained in electronic media. For example, system failures might make private information publicly visible for a brief time; supervisors might need to gain access to urgently needed job-related materials when the employee who maintains those materials is not available; Information Technology Services staff may need to access data and software stored on university computers while providing maintenance or safeguarding the integrity of systems and networks; and, unscrupulous persons might gain access to unauthorized materials despite all precautions.

Those university employees whose legitimate job functions may require accessing private directories, data or software must make reasonable efforts to respect the privacy of others. Supervisors, for example, must make reasonable attempts to respect an employee's privacy while accessing job-related materials. Information Technology Services staff must make reasonable efforts to maintain system integrity by means which do not involve accessing or collecting private data before resorting to actions which may violate a user's privacy. If Information Technology Services staff have good reason to believe that an individual is engaged in illegal activities or serious infractions of university rules, they may monitor that individual's files and computer use, but only after obtaining permission from the appropriate senior official (such as the Provost, the Dean of Students, or the Vice President for Business and Finance).

4 - Appropriate and Ethical Use

Illinois Wesleyan University expects its constituents to use information technology in ways that are ethical and appropriate to the University's mission. Individuals are responsible for knowing and abiding by not only the policies listed below, but also other applicable university policies governing standards of conduct, such as those in the Student, Faculty, and Staff Handbooks and the Sexual Harassment Policy.

Actions which are unethical or inappropriate include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • sending unsolicited advertising, promotional material, or other forms of mass mailing solicitation, except in those areas that are designated for such purpose, such as a classified ad area,
  • using University-owned computers for personal monetary gain (except as such use relates to professional development),
  • displaying in a public setting electronic materials which may be distracting, intimidating, or harassing to others, and
  • using University technology resources to store or transmit electronic information with sexually harassing content. For more information on this issue, see the University Sexual Harassment policy.

In general, uses of university-owned computers which interfere with the educational mission of the university are prohibited.

5 - Disciplinary Actions

The University may take disciplinary and/or legal action against any individual who violates these policies. Such actions include temporary or permanent suspension of an individual's use privileges to all or part of the college computing facilities, temporary suspension from the University, or permanent separation therefrom. Any member of the university community may report violations of this policy. Violations of the policy should be reported to either the Chief Technology Officer or, in the case of a violation of a larger university policy, the corresponding official or university body. Inquiry and disciplinary action will follow judicial procedures which govern the individual(s) involved. For example, student violations will be handled in accordance with judicial procedures outlined in the Student Handbook, while faculty violations will be handled in accordance with judicial procedures outlined in the Faculty Handbook. Questions regarding disciplinary action should be directed to the appropriate administrator (such as the Dean of Students, Provost/Dean of the Faculty, Human Resources Director).

6 - Liability

Illinois Wesleyan University hereby expressly and explicitly disclaims any liability and/or responsibility for violations of the policy hereabove stated.

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