college policies

Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources

Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources

I. Purpose

Macomb Community College provides computer systems, networks and/or other information technology resources (collectively, “IT Resources”) to students, faculty, staff, contractors and visitors (collectively, “Users”).  The College expects all Users to use IT Resources in a respectful, ethical, and lawful manner that is consistent with:

  •  Macomb Community College’s scholarly and institutional objectives;
  •  Applicable laws and regulations;
  •  Applicable confidentiality obligations and agreements;
  •  The highest ethical principles;
  •  The intellectual property and privacy rights of others; and
  •  Macomb Community College’s Information Technology operational, security, performance, availability and system infrastructure interests. 

This Policy is designed to outline the acceptable use of the Macomb Community College’s IT Resources.

II. Scope and Access 

Anyone using Macomb Community College’s IT Resources, including the College’s wired and wireless networks, is subject to the provisions of this Policy. 

The use of Macomb Community College IT Resources is a privilege, not a right.  Inappropriate use of IT Resources, as determined by College administration, may result in suspension or termination of privileges and/or other discipline.

III. Collaborative Evolution

Information technology environments evolve, so Macomb Community College will support a Technology Advisory Committee consisting of faculty members, administrators, General Counsel, and IT leadership.  The Technology Advisory Committee will meet periodically to review this Policy and propose updates or amendments.

IV. Guiding Principles

  1. Non-public Forum.  IT Resources at Macomb Community College are non-public forums.  The College reserves the right to limit or restrict access to and use of IT Resources, and to monitor, record and review any User’s use of IT Resources.
  2. Creativity Encouraged.  IT Resources are intended to be used to promote Macomb Community College’s instructional, scholarly, public service, research, operational and administrative objectives.  The College community is encouraged to make innovative and creative use of IT Resources in support of these purposes.
  3. Copyrighted Materials.  Macomb Community College recognizes the importance of copyright and other protections afforded to the creators of intellectual property. Users are responsible for making sure their use of software and other IT Resources is in accordance with copyright and licensing restrictions and applicable College policies. Using IT Resources in a manner that violates these protections or that furthers the unauthorized use or sale of protected intellectual property violates this Policy and is prohibited.
  4. Offensive Material.  Macomb Community College cannot protect individuals against the receipt of or exposure to offensive material. Individuals who use the College’s IT resources may receive or be exposed to material that they might find offensive.
  5. Use IT Wisely.  IT Resources are provided to support the College's scholarly, educational and administrative activities.  IT Resources are limited, and should be used in a responsible, professional manner and with consideration for the rights and needs of others.
  6. Security.  Users who make personal use of IT Resources do so at their own risk.  Macomb Community College cannot guarantee the security or continued operation of any IT resource.  Those who make personal information available about themselves through the Internet or other electronic media may expose themselves to identity theft or other invasions of privacy.

V. User Responsibilities

  1. Login/authentication credential Security.  Access to all College IT Resources requires user authentication.  Users bear responsibility for supplementing security mechanisms by using systems in a manner that preserves the privacy of themselves and others.  When passwords are used, Users should create strong passwords that cannot be easily guessed or compromised.  Users must take appropriate precautions to ensure the security of their credentials, prevent others from obtaining access to them and consider them to be private. Convenience of file or printer sharing or out of office coverage is not a sufficient reason for sharing computer account credentials.
  2. Prohibited Practices. The following behaviors are prohibited while using College IT Resources, including computers and networks owned or operated by Macomb Community College, or  any use of the College’s IT resources to access an off-campus network or system to circumvent prohibited practices.
    1. Using, duplicating or transmitting copyrighted or licensed material without first obtaining the owner's permission, in any way, including the use of Peer to Peer (P2P) file sharing software, that may reasonably be expected to constitute an infringement, or that exceeds the scope of a license, or violates other contracts;
    2. Tampering with software license protections or security restrictions placed on computer applications or files;
    3. Using College IT Resources for personal for-profit purposes, or to advertise, solicit, operate a business for other commercial purposes not affiliated with Macomb Community College;
    4. Impersonating another user or otherwise falsifying a user name in email or electronic communication;
    5. Modifying system or network facilities without administrative approval, degrading, physically damaging or disrupting a network, hindering access to a network, overburdening a network, or otherwise excessively using resources in a manner which effectively denies service to other users;
    6. Creating, sending or forwarding chain letters, junk mail, "spam” or other similar types of broadcast messages further defined in the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003
    7. Using IT Resources in a manner that is disruptive of the workplace or educational purpose of the College, or which otherwise hinders the effectiveness or mission of the institution;
    8. Using IT Resources to access, store, or transmit pornographic material, unless such use is for legitimate academic purposes;
    9. Sending messages that are malicious or that a reasonable person would find to be harassing or threatening;
    10. Subverting restrictions associated with computer accounts;
    11. Using IT Resources to obtain unauthorized access to records, data, or other forms of information owned, used, possessed by, or pertaining to the College or individuals;
    12. Obtaining another's login/authentication credentials, including through the negligence or oversight of another to improperly gain access to computers or network systems, data or information;
    13. Intentionally introducing malicious computer code (viruses, worms, rootkits, etc.) or other rogue programs into IT Resources that are connected to, belong to, are licensed to, or are leased by Macomb Community College or others;
    14. Using or encouraging others to use IT Resources in any manner that would violate any applicable law, work rule, or College policy;
    15. Falsely reporting or accusing another of conduct that violates this Policy, without a good faith basis for such an accusation;
  3. College Image.  Users should remember that information distributed through the College's IT Resources may be considered a form of publication. Although Macomb Community College does not take responsibility for material issued by individuals, Users must recognize that third parties may perceive anything generated at Macomb Community College as in some manner having been produced under Macomb Community College auspices.  Accordingly, Users are reminded to exercise appropriate language, behavior, and style in their use of IT Resources.
VI. Privacy and Confidentiality
  1. Users are expected to respect the privacy and security interests of other Users, even if the devices and systems used by others are not physically or password protected.
  2. Users must comply with applicable privacy laws.
  3. Users shall not access another User’s account(s), or explore password protected areas without express permission.
  4. Users will not sell or share data, browsing history or usage patterns to third-party retailers, marketing companies or vendors.  No expectation of privacy should be assumed, however, given capabilities of commercial firms to collect this data outside of the College’s network through browsing activity.
  5. Users shall not use the College’s IT Resources to download or transmit confidential or proprietary information belonging to the College to third parties without a formal confidentiality or data sharing agreement approved by General Counsel.
  6. Users shall not download, transfer, or transmit personally identifiable information in violation of the Federal Educational Records Privacy Act, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or any other applicable state or federal law. Authorized download, transfer, or transmission of personally identifiable information shall be done using secure methods (e.g. encryption or credential-protected technique). When using email to share information protected by these laws, and only when email is an approved communications medium, College employees must only use their email account.  Similarly, when email is used to send protected information to students, it must only be sent to the primary email account as it appears on the official student record.
  7. Users shall not copy, download or transmit confidential student or college data, Social Security Numbers, credit card numbers, educational records or similar sensitive information to a portable mass storage device (i.e. thumb/jump/flash drive, portable hard drive, “SD” card, MP3 player, CD or DVD) or off premise (hosted/’cloud’) based storage systems that are not protected by (accessed through) the College’s IT security management system using employee credentials without written authorization from General Counsel.

VII. Policy Administration

  1. College Access to Your Files and Use of IT Resources.  Macomb Community College encourages all members of its community to use electronic resources in a manner that is respectful of others.  Macomb Community College can monitor and record IT Resource activity of all devices using its IT systems for security related breach patterns, attacks, suspicion of egregious use or activity that might violate this Policy.  The College reserves the right to examine any files on any device that is owned by the College. The College reserves these rights for bona fide purposes, including, but not limited to:
    1. Enforcing employment policies and policies against harassment, illegal discrimination and threats to the safety of individuals;
    2. Protecting against or limiting damage to College IT Resources;
    3. Complying with a court order, subpoena or other legally enforceable discovery request;
    4. Investigating and preventing the posting of proprietary software or electronic copies of texts, data, media or images in disregard of copyright, licenses, or other contractual or legal obligations or in violation of law;
    5. Safeguarding the integrity of computers, networks, hardware, software and data;
    6. Preserving information and data;
    7. Upgrading or maintaining IT Resources;
    8. Cooperating with law enforcement authorities in reporting and investigating suspected criminal activity.
  2. Terminating Your Use of IT Resources. The College may suspend or terminate the use of its computers and network systems when presented with evidence of a User's violation of College policies, or federal or state laws, or when it is advisable to do so to protect the College against potential legal liability.
  3. Disciplinary Action. Users are expected to conduct themselves consistent with the responsibilities outlined in this Policy.  Abuse of IT Resources or privileges may subject the User to disciplinary action as established by applicable College policies and/or collective bargaining agreements.
  4. Bound by Public Law.  The College and Users must recognize that all members of the College community are bound by federal and state laws pertaining to civil rights, harassment, copyright, security and other statutes governing use of electronic media. This Policy does not preclude enforcement under such laws.

VIII. Reporting Violations

  1. Allegations of student conduct that is believed to violate this Acceptable Use policy should be reported in writing to the Dean of Student Success.  Allegations of faculty or staff conduct that is believed to violate this Acceptable Use Policy should be reported in writing to the Vice President for Human Resources.
  2. To ensure the fairness of any proceedings that may follow a reported violation, the individual filing the report should not discuss or provide copies of the allegations to others.

Approved by President’s Council
November 6, 2002
Revised May 31, 2018