Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources

Information technology resources have become important educational, research, service, and administrative tools. The University provides and maintains resources to advance and strengthen activities that support its mission. It encourages communication and collaboration without fear that the products of this collaboration will be misrepresented, stolen or destroyed. The University community shares information technology resources, and each user is responsible for refraining from acts that waste resources, prevent others from using them, or misuse these resources. Users of information technology resources are governed by University regulations as well as relevant laws and contractual obligations, and should maintain the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct. Users accept the privilege of using information technology resources with the understanding that they are to be used only to facilitate the University’s mission of teaching, learning, research, and community/professional service, and for administrative activities in support of the mission. Other uses are prohibited, including those outlined below.

All files and documents of any kind saved on the hard drive of any computer owned by the institution, and all software and applications on the shelf or installed on the hard drive of any computer owned by the institution are considered to be the sole property of West Coast University and therefore not the property of any individual user of a University computer. Likewise, all files, documents, software or applications saved on electronic media purchased by the institution are considered to be the property of the University.

The University is entitled to access and monitor its information technology resources without prior notice, knowledge or permission, for legitimate school purposes including, but not limited to, resolving an urgent circumstance, obtaining valuable institution-related information, complying with a court order, warrant, subpoena or other legal discovery request for information, assessing compliance with University policies or any applicable law, preserving property or information that may be lost or destroyed, attending to maintenance concerns or addressing safety or security issues. Therefore, students have no privacy interest in information stored on or transmitted over the University’s information technology resources, and should therefore be realized that University access and monitoring is a reasonable means of advancing institutional purposes.

Specifically, the University characterizes the following activities as unethical, unacceptable and cause for disciplinary or legal action:

  1. Obtaining or attempting to obtain unauthorized access to information technology resources.
  2. Sharing passwords or any other access information with other persons, or otherwise granting access to information technology resources to other persons without express authorization to do so.
  3. Violating or infringing the rights of any person, or being abusive, profane or defamatory.
  4. Destroying, altering, disfiguring, dismantling, disabling, preventing rightful access to or in any other way interfering with the integrity or security of information technology resources without express authorization to do so.
  5. Using WCU's information technology resources for personal, commercial, political, recreational or other purposes unrelated to the user's responsibilities and/or duties for furtherance of WCU's mission without express authorization to do so.
  6. Using, duplicating, or transmitting copyrighted material by copying, e-mail, peer-to-peer file sharing, or any other method of duplication or transmission, without first obtaining the owner's permission and in such a way as may constitute infringement of a copyright (see the University Copyright Infringement Policy, available from the Academic Dean).
  7. Using material in a manner that exceeds the scope of a license or violates other contracts.
  8. Using information technology resources to impersonate others, to display images of others without their permission, to disrupt the orderly operation of the university or the pursuit of institutional purposes.
  9. Violating, or encouraging others to violate, West Coast University policies or applicable state or federal law, including but not limited to transmitting or knowingly receiving chain letters, child pornography, or obscene material (as defined by applicable law).

Transfer of certain technology across national boundaries is prohibited or otherwise regulated by the U.S. government, including the transfer of such technology by transmission to third parties located in other countries. This restriction includes the transmission of messages containing files and programs such as encryption programs and technical drawings sent by electronic mail. Before sending such information outside the United States, students should verify with the administration whether sending such information is prohibited by law and/or whether an export license is required and, if so, whether such license is available, and also that the information is labeled appropriately for export licensing purposes. Students who have questions about whether a given use is permitted should contact the university’s administration.

Any person who, without a good faith basis to do so, falsely reports or accuses another of unacceptable conduct that violates this policy is subject to disciplinary action identified in the student conduct section of the Catalog, which provides for a full range of sanctions up to and including dismissal and may also be subject to prosecution under criminal laws and/or action under civil laws. A person who engages in conduct prohibited by this policy, or who is suspected of having engaged in such conduct, may have his or her privilege of access to information technology resources restricted or revoked during or following an investigation.

Allegations of conduct that is believed to violate this policy are to be reported to the appropriate Dean/Chair when the alleged misconduct is by a student. Allegations should be made in writing and with as much specificity as possible. To protect the fairness of the proceedings that may follow, the individual filing the charge should not disseminate copies of the allegations to any other persons.

Students should notify relevant third parties of the restrictions outlined in this policy and that use of the institution’s information technology resources and messages transmitted or received using these resources are subject to access and monitoring by the University. Use of the University’s information technology resources by third parties will be governed by this.

Students should protect their work product by creating back up files on disk. The University provides reasonable security against intrusion and damage to files stored on its information technology resources. However, the University is not responsible for unauthorized access by other students, nor does it guarantee protection against media failure, fires, floods or other destructive forces. Also, West Coast University does not guarantee the availability of backups to restore files deleted through user error or media failure. Students agree to return, in a timely manner, all materials and resources borrowed or checked out from West Coast University.