MCU Usage Policy

Computer, Network and Electronic Media Usage Policy

1. Purpose

This is a College-wide policy adopted by Marymount California University (University) to allow for the proper use and management of all University computing, network and other electronic media and services. The term “electronic media and services” will be used in this policy to refer to all University computers, laptops, tablet computers, smart phones, network resources, and electronic media such as e-mail, voicemail, telephones, fax machines, Marymount hosted webpages (including, and the Internet. This policy applies to all electronic media and services which are: (1) accessed on or from University premises, (2) accessed using University equipment or via University-paid access methods, and/or (3) used in a manner which identifies the individual with the University. The University grants access to its electronic media and services subject to certain responsibilities and obligations set forth in this policy and subject to all local, state, and federal laws. Appropriate use should always be legal, ethical and consistent with the University’s mission.

2. Authorized Use

Authorized use of University-owned or operated electronic media and services is use consistent with this policy. An Authorized User is any person who has been granted authority by the University to access its electronic media and services and whose usage complies with this policy. This policy extends to, but is not limited to, the following users: all Marymount faculty, staff, students, employees, contractors, consultants, temporary workers, vendors, and any other on-campus or off-campus visitors. Authority to use a particular University electronic media resource should come from the campus unit responsible for operating the resource. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited. The terms “Authorized User” and “user” are hereinafter used interchangeably.

3. Privacy

Users must recognize that there is no guarantee of privacy associated with their use of University electronic media and services. The University may find it necessary to view or listen to electronic data and it may be required by law to allow third parties to do so (e.g. electronically stored data may become evidence in legal proceedings). It is also possible that messages or data may be inadvertently viewed or heard by others.

4. Individual Responsibilities

4.1 Common courtesy and respect for rights of others

All users are responsible to respect and value the privacy of others, to behave ethically, and to comply with legal restrictions regarding the use of electronic data. All users are also responsible to recognize and honor the intellectual property rights of others. Plagiarism of electronic works is prohibited.
Communication on University electronic media and services should be businesslike, courteous and civil. Such systems must not be used for the expression of animus or bias against individuals or groups, offensive material such as obscenity, vulgarity or profanity, inappropriate jokes, or other non-businesslike material. Sexually explicit material, cursing, and name-calling are not appropriate communications. Users who engage in such activity will be subject to disciplinary action.
No user may, under any circumstances, use University electronic media and services to libel, slander, or harass any other person. The following are some examples of harassment using electronic media: (1) intentionally using electronic media and services to annoy, harass, terrify, intimidate, threaten, offend or bother another person by conveying obscene language, pictures, or other materials or threats of bodily harm to the recipient or the recipient’s immediate family; (2) intentionally using the electronic media to contact another person repeatedly with the intent to annoy, harass, or bother, whether or not any actual message is communicated, and/or where no purpose of legitimate communication exists, and where the recipient has expressed a desire for the communication to cease; (3) intentionally using electronic media and services to disrupt or damage the academic, research, administrative, or related pursuits of another; or (5) intentionally using electronic media or services to invade the privacy, academic or otherwise, of another or the threatened invasion of the privacy of another.

4.2. Responsible use

All users are responsible for refraining from all acts that waste University electronic media and services or prevent others from using them. Each user is responsible for the security and integrity of information stored on his/her personal desktop systems. Computer accounts, passwords, and other types of authorization are assigned to individual users and must not be shared with or used by others (unless it is a business necessity, e.g. an employee is not able to work and co-workers must access data). All users must maintain confidentiality of student information in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 and the California Education Code.

4.2.1. Permitting unauthorized access

All users are prohibited from running or otherwise configuring software or hardware to intentionally allow access by unauthorized users.

4.2.2. Use of privileged access

Special access to information or other special computing privileges are to be used in the performance of official duties only. Information that is obtained through special privilege is to be treated as private.

4.2.3. Termination of access

Whenever a user ceases being a member of the University community or such user is assigned a new position and/or responsibilities within the University, such user shall not use facilities, accounts, access codes, privileges, or information for which he/she is not authorized in her/her new position or circumstances.

4.3. Attempts to circumvent security

Users are prohibited from attempting to circumvent or subvert any security measures implemented for the University computing and network systems. The use of any computer program or device to intercept or decode passwords or similar access control information is prohibited. This section does not prohibit use of security tools by Computing Services personnel.

4.3.1 Denial of service

Deliberate attempts to degrade the performance of an electronic media system or service or to deprive authorized users of access to or use of such resources are prohibited. This includes causing a disruption of service to either Marymount California University or other network resources, ICMP floods, packet spoofing, denial of service, heap or buffer overflows, and forged routing information for malicious purposes.

4.3.2. Network Security

You are responsible for the security and appropriate use of Marymount California University network resources under your control. Using Marymount California University resources for the following is strictly prohibited:

  • Causing a security breach to either Marymount California University or other network resources, including, but not limited to, accessing data, servers, or accounts to which you are not authorized; circumventing user authentication on any device; or sniffing network traffic.
  • Introducing honeypots, honeynets, or similar technology designed to distract or mislead users of the Marymount California University network.
  • Violating copyright law, including, but not limited to, illegally duplicating or transmitting copyrighted pictures, music, video, and software.
  • Intentionally introducing malicious code, including, but not limited to, viruses, worms, Trojan horses, e-mail bombs, spyware, adware, and keyloggers.
  • Port scanning or security scanning on a production network unless authorized in advance by Information Security.

4.3.3. Unauthorized access

All users are also strictly prohibited from: (1) damaging computer or other electronic media; (2) obtaining extra resources without authority; (3) depriving another user of authorized resources; (4) sending frivolous or excessive messages; (5) gaining unauthorized access to University electronic media and services; (6) using a password without authority, (7) utilizing loopholes in the University computer security systems without authority; (8) using another user’s password (except under conditions noted in 4.2 above); and (9) accessing abilities used during a previous position with the University.

4.4. Use of licensed software

No software may be installed, copied, or used on University resources except as permitted by the owner of the software and by law. Software subject to licensing must be properly licensed and all license provisions must be adhered to.

4.5 Personal business, political campaigning, and commercial advertising
The University’s electronic media and services are a University-owned resource and tool to be used primarily for University business and academic purposes by authorized users. Except as may be authorized by the University, users should not use the University’s electronic media facilities, services, and networks for (1) compensated outside work; (2) the benefit of organizations not related to the University, except in connection with scholarly pursuits; (3) political campaigning; and (4) commercial or personal advertising. Limited use of electronic media for personal, non-business purposes is acceptable except as limited above.

4.5 Electronic Communications

The following is strictly prohibited:

  • Inappropriate use of communication equipment or services, including, but not limited to, supporting illegal activities, and procuring or transmitting material that violates Marymount California University policies against harassment or the safeguarding of confidential or proprietary information.
  • Sending Spam (unwanted mass e-mails) via e-mail, text messages, pages, instant messages, voice mail, or other forms of electronic communication.
  • Forging, misrepresenting, obscuring, suppressing, or replacing a user identity on any electronic communication to mislead the recipient about the sender.
  • Posting the same or similar non-business-related messages to large numbers of Usenet newsgroups (newsgroup spam).
  • Use of a Marymount California University e-mail or IP address to engage in conduct that violates Marymount California University policies or guidelines. Posting to a public newsgroup, bulletin board, or listserv with a Marymount California University e-mail or IP address represents Marymount California University to the public; therefore, you must exercise good judgment to avoid misrepresenting or exceeding your authority in representing the opinion of the company.

4.6 Marymount Netiquette Guidelines:

  • Students MUST use their Marymount e-mail account for all school related communications. This is how Academics, Faculty, Staff, the Business Office, the Office of Financial Aid, and fellow students will communicate other Marymount users. Marymount is not responsible for messages sent to or from a third-party e-mail service (i.e., Yahoo, Google G-mail, Hotmail, etc.).
  • A Marymount User ID and password should never be given to another person.
  • All network users should conduct themselves as if they are at workplace communicating amongst their colleagues and fellow workers.
  • In an online discussion, debate is welcome, but users should be tactful in responding to others. Remember that there’s a person (or a whole class) on the receiving end of all posts.
  • Avoid the practice of “flaming,” or injecting emotional outbursts into e-mail messages or discussion posts. If on the receiving end of such a message, remember that in most situations, the best thing to do is not respond.
  • The use of any derogatory or offensive language or images will not be tolerated. This includes any reference to a person’s race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital status, or sexual orientation.
  • Respect the fact that all Marymount classes, whether they are on-campus or online, conduct “closed discussions.” Please do not forward mail or discussion posts from your classmates to others without their permission.
  • Obey all copyright laws. Do not post or publish any work that may be in violation of existing copyrights.
  • Messages in all lowercase letters can be difficult to read. Please use normal capitalization.
  • Be careful when using sarcasm and humor. Without face-to face communication, a joke may be viewed as offensive or critical.
  • Keep questions and comments relevant to the focus of the discussion group. Information intended for an individual or small group of individuals should be emailed to those people directly.
  • When quoting a previous post (by using the ‘Reply’ function, for example), quote only enough to make your point.
  • To get in touch with only one person in a class, send a message to that individual’s e-mail address, not to the entire discussion list or class list.
  • When replying to a message posted to a discussion group, check the address to be certain it’s going to the intended recipient(s) (person or group). It can be very embarrassing if a reply is distributed incorrectly to an entire discussion group when it was only intended for an individual.
  • Violations of this Netiquette Policy shall be considered an Academic Integrity violation and may be referred to the Office of Academic Affairs to be handled according to Marymount’s Academic Integrity Policy which can be found on page 25.

5. Security

5.1. System administration access

Certain system administrators of the University’s systems will be granted authority to access files for the maintenance of the systems, and storage or backup of information.

5.2 University Access

The University will honor your privacy, but reserves the right to monitor files, communications and/or usage data when there is just cause. Such activity may be performed at the reasonable discretion of the Director responsible for the resources, subject to the approval of their immediate supervisor, unless the situation reasonably appears to require emergency action.

5.3. Departmental Responsibilities

Each University department has the responsibility of enforcing this policy and providing for security in such department area.

5.4 Public Information Services

Departments and individuals may, with the permission of the Computing Services Executive Steering Committee, configure computing systems to provide information retrieval services to the public at large under the auspices of the University (e.g. the World Wide Web). However, in so doing, particular attention must be paid to issues addressed earlier in this policy, such as authorized use, responsible use of resources and individual and departmental responsibilities. In addition, copyrighted information and materials and licensed software must be used an appropriate and lawful manner.

5.5 Anti-Plagiarism Policy

In conjunction with the institution’s Academic Integrity Policy, Marymount California University subscribes toan online plagiarism prevention system. Any or all student, faculty, or staff work may be submitted to this system, which protects student privacy by assigning code numbers, not names, to all student work stored in its databases. By agreeing to this Acceptable Use Policy, all users also hereby agree to be subject to this practice.

6. Procedures and Sanctions

6.1 Responding to security and abuse incidents

All users and departmental units have the responsibility to report any discovered unauthorized access attempts or other improper usage of University computers, networks, or other electronic media and services to such user’s department head and/or the Director responsible for the resource.

6.2 Range of disciplinary sanctions

Persons in violation of this policy are subject to a full range of sanctions, including, but not limited to, the loss of computer or other access privileges, disciplinary action, and dismissal from the University. Some violations may constitute criminal offenses, as defined by local, state, and federal laws and the University may prosecute any such violations to the full extent of the law.
Modified 09/2011

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