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4,320: Appropriate Use of Computer Facilities

Last Revised:

Authorized Computer Users: It is the policy of the University and of NSHE System Computing Services to make available computer resources for students, faculty, staff, and other authorized users. Authorized users are those persons explicitly granted access by appropriate officers of the University and NSHE System Computing Services. Authorized users will be governed by this policy, by related computing use policies of the university, and by the policies of NSHE. Current versions of policies may be found on the university's official website.

Acceptable Use: Users of University and NSHE computing resources will be subject to all provisions of computing use policies currently adopted at the university and system level. In addition to these policies, it is expected that computer users will practice ethical behavior in computing activities. Users have access to many valuable and sensitive resources. Their computing practices can adversely affect the work of other users. Misuse of resources can cause loss of valuable files, can delay or prevent access by other users, and can cause monetary loss to the university community.

  1. Users shall apply standards of accepted academic ethics and polite conduct in their use of computing resources. This includes the respect for the privacy of others.
  2. Users may access only computer accounts for which they are specifically authorized. Accounts may not be shared with others.
  3. Users must ensure that accounts are secured from unauthorized access.
  4. Computers and computer accounts may be used only for authorized purposes. The following are examples of unauthorized use:
    1. Use of computer resources for paid consulting or other commercial purposes, unless arrangements are made for appropriate fees to be paid to the institution.
    2. Unpaid computing support for research projects that have a source of funding such as private, federal, or state grants, commercial contracts, or similar situations.
  5. Users must not access or copy programs or data belonging to other users or copyright holders without permission.
  6. Users should minimize the impact of their work on the work of other users. Users may not encroach on the use of facilities by others nor deprive other users of resources. Following are a few examples of violations of this provision:
    1. Attempting to crack passwords or to gain unauthorized access to an account.
    2. Attempting to modify, delete, or circumvent operating system software.
    3. Attempting to purge files in another user's account.

Violations: Violations of this policy and of currently adopted computer use policies can result in actions ranging from suspension from the use of computing facilities, to disciplinary action under the NSHE Code, to legal action under appropriate state or federal law. The following describes the action that will be taken when a violation of this policy is suspected:

  1. When system administrators have reason to suspect that a user's action is in violation of policy, a determination will be made as to the seriousness and gravity of the incident. When the circumstances indicate that the incident is not serious, the user will be notified by the system administrator and asked to cease and desist.
  2. When circumstances indicate greater seriousness in the offense, the following actions will be taken:
    1. Access to the system by the suspected user may be temporarily suspended in the interest of maintaining system integrity and security.
    2. Depending on the status of the user, the matter will be referred to the appropriate university office for determination of the facts in the matter and for the application of any penalties deemed appropriate after evaluation of the situation.
    3. Violations of the NSHE Code will be handled as stipulated in the Code.

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