Digital Environment Policy



Introduction

Husson provides members of its community with access to a wide range of information resources. This digital environment includes the use of computers, computer networks (e.g. the Internet and Husson Intranet) and digital communication (e.g. email, telephone, voice mail and faxes). These services are essential for research, instruction, and administration.

While Husson values freedom of expression and an open exchange of ideas and information, the College acknowledges that there is a delicate balance between freedom of expression and respect for the rights of fellow members of the Husson community. Essentially, Husson's Digital Environment Policy requires all users to maintain reasonable standards of professional and personal respect and courtesy. Members of the Husson community are provided with broad access to the Husson Digital environment. The digital environment, by its very nature, allows users to engage in the system with near anonymity and these characteristics demand responsible use by all of Husson's users.

Despite the unique attributes of the digital environment, all Husson policies that apply elsewhere in the Husson community apply in the use of the digital environment. Specifically, all Husson harassment and discrimination policies, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, and the Husson Community Standards of Conduct, (as defined in the undergraduate student handbook), are applicable to all forms of contact with the digital environment.

The purpose of the Husson Digital Environment Policy is to address those aspects of information resources that are specific to computer use, electronic communication, and computer networks. The Digital Environment Policy applies equally to users who access the system on and off campus.

Termination of Access and Accounts

Systems administrators may, without prior notice, delete computer accounts and files 60 days after the termination of a person's qualifying Husson affiliation. During this 60 day grace period, users may arrange to forward their electronic mail using standard mail forwarding conventions. Students who have been registered in the spring and who will register again in the fall are permitted to use Husson computer facilities during the summer.

Any network account which is not accessed for 90 days may be terminated at the discretion of the Information Resources Office.

Responsible Use 

Users are responsible for their use of the digital environment, including computer hardware, accounts and user id's. Users must take all reasonable precautions, including password maintenance and file protection measures, to prevent use of accounts by unauthorized persons or use of accounts in an unauthorized manner.

The primary purpose of the Husson digital environment is to provide authorized users with resources, which facilitate the user's academic, instructional, research and administrative roles at Husson. Personal use of the Husson digital environment is permissible, provided such use is limited to incidental use which does not interfere with the reasonable and legitimate use of the digital environment by other members of the Husson community. The digital environment may not be used for private monetary gain.

Priorities

Since Husson is primarily an academic institution, academics and college business will always take precedence over other uses of the digital environment. Husson and its authorized personnel reserve the right to set priorities on the use of the Husson digital environment. For example, academic work in a computer lab may be prioritized over non academic email or computer games. 

Ethical Use

All users are responsible for conducting themselves in the digital environment in an ethical manner. Users must respect all copyrighted, personal, or proprietary information belonging to others.

Additionally, users shall refrain from unethical activities, such as:

1.    Improper Access: Gaining or attempting to gain improper access to the Husson digital environment, the files or accounts of another.

2.    Destructive Behavior: Any action that might be harmful to the Husson Digital environment, the network, or the data stored on or transported by them or other computers connected to them.

3.    Offensive Behaviors / Harassment: Any behavior that is harmful to members of the Husson community or the Husson’s property may be offensive behavior.

4.    Improper Attribution: When creating and sending messages through the Husson digital environment, users shall not give the impression that they are representing, giving opinions, or otherwise making statements on behalf of Husson unless appropriately authorized to do so.

Legal Use

Some Internet sites may contain material, which is illegal under state or federal law, e.g., laws or sexual harassment statutes governing hostile environment. Users must take care to act within the confines of the law, as well as all Husson policies.

Users should also be aware that Husson prohibits the use of its facilities to commit criminal activities. Husson will cooperate with appropriate authorities to enforce this rule. Moreover, although an activity may arguably be legal, Husson's Digital Environment Policy may be more rigorous than the legal standard.

General Use

The primary purpose of Husson network accounts is to facilitate each user's specific business at the college, (i.e. student, faculty or staff). Husson’s Digital Environment must be used in accordance with the responsible use provision contained in this policy.

Misuse Examples

Examples of misuse include, but are not limited to, the following activities:

•    Using a computer account that you are not authorized to use.
•    Obtaining a password for a computer account without the consent of the account owner.
•    Using the campus network to gain unauthorized access to any computer systems.
•    Knowingly performing an act, which will interfere with the normal operation of computers, terminals, peripherals, or networks.
•    Knowingly running or installing on any computer system or network, or giving to another user, a program intended to damage or to place excessive load on a computer system or network. This includes but is not limited to programs known as computer viruses, Trojan horses, and worms.
•    Attempting to circumvent data protection schemes or uncover security loopholes.
•    Violating terms of applicable software licensing agreements or copyright laws.
•    Deliberately wasting computing resources, including printer paper and toner.
•    Using email to harass others.
•    Masking the identity of an account or machine.
•    Posting on electronic bulletin boards materials that violate existing laws or the College's codes of conduct.
•    Initiating or propagating electronic chain letters; unauthorized mass mailing including multiple mailings to newsgroups, mailing lists, or individuals, or using e mail or personal web page advertising to solicit or proselytize others for commercial ventures, religious or political causes, or for personal gain.
•    Sending harassing or pornographic messages either locally or over the Internet
•    Installing any software onto a Husson College common space computer, including any lab or hallway kiosk machine
•    Using College computing resources such as servers to store harassing or pornographic materials.
•    Tampering with, abusing, or otherwise damaging computer hardware or software. This includes software or network tampering (hacking), such as attempting to crack or guess passwords, sending anonymous mail, or "bombing" a mailbox with multiple copies of a message.
•    Running or installing any program that overloads the computer system or network.
•    Overloading College owned data storage computers or devices with personal and/or non academic items.
•    Attempting to monitor or tamper with another user's electronic communications, or reading, copying, changing, or deleting another user's files or software without the explicit agreement of the owner.
•    Searching for, accessing or copying directories, programs, files, or data belonging to others without specific authorization to do so. Programs and data residing in centralized college systems are not considered public domain and should not be used, in part or in whole, for any purpose other than that which is officially authorized.

Privacy and Email

Both the nature of email and the character of the Husson environment make email less private than users may anticipate. The privacy of email messages may be compromised by the fact they must routinely pass through numerous computers and are sometimes seen by system administrators in the course of maintaining these systems, redirecting lost mail, or by assistants routinely screening colleagues' mail.

Email & Voicemail Monitoring and Disclosure
Husson does not routinely monitor or inspect email or voicemail. Nonetheless, email is subject to a number of laws, policies, and practices that apply to the disclosure and protection of Husson records. Examples include, but are not limited to the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act; Husson personnel policies; disclosure pursuant to litigation; and other provisions of the Husson Digital Environment Policy.

Husson may access email accounts or voicemail boxes to satisfy a legal obligation or to insure proper operation of these systems. Husson reserves the right to take appropriate investigatory and/or disciplinary action. See the Enforcement section of this policy.

A user's programs and data are to be treated by other users as private property (subject, however, to Husson's rights and obligations under law and as set forth in this Digital Environment Policy). Users must not browse, access, copy, or change private files without authorization, or change public files without authorization. Unauthorized access to restricted databases is not permitted.

Storage and Privacy of Files

Husson employs reasonable means to maintain the privacy of those files that are stored on  Husson computer systems, including but not exclusive to email and voicemail.

Husson reserves the right to access user's data, files, and programs for appropriate management purposes, such as making backup copies and to ensure system integrity. When we copy files to the backup media using a program run by our operations staff, every file will be backed up irrespective of any file protection mechanisms that have been set. When you delete a file, you cannot be assured that every copy of the file will be deleted. A number of copies may be retained on backup media for up to a year.

Because Husson's ability to maintain the privacy of your files is limited, you should be wary of using these systems (or any shared access computer system) for the storage of highly sensitive information or information that you do not want anyone else to access. Users of these facilities are cautioned that absolute privacy cannot be assured.

Misconduct

Additionally, Husson reserves the right to inspect any files stored on Husson computers and to record any communications that pass through these computers.  Any file or storable piece of digital information contained on any Husson-owned computer or digital device is considered Husson property, though not necessarily the intellectual property of the College.  Husson may report evidence of misconduct to the appropriate authorities. See the Enforcement section of this policy.

Husson's digital environment includes access to the Internet, an international computer network. The actions of members of the Husson community on the Internet reflect back not only on the individual user, but upon Husson as well. Therefore, all use of the Internet, which involves the Husson digital environment, must be responsible, ethical and legal.

Copyright

Copyright, Defined "Copyright is the ownership and control of intellectual property in original works of authorship. A copyright owner has five specific rights: to reproduce (copy) the work, to prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work, distributing copies of the work to the public, publicly performing the work, and publicly displaying the work." ("Licensing of Instructional/Informational Technology," Adrian Arima, Gary Cary Ware & Freidenrich, March 1, 1996) Works published after March 1, 1989 may maintain a valid copyright even if they are not specifically labeled with a copyright symbol or other notification.

Copyright Infringement
Any action which violates the rights of a copyright owner may constitute copyright infringement. The digital environment includes a number of media, which are subject to copyright laws, including the Internet, email, and computer software.

The Internet
Copyright infringement via the Internet may occur in a variety of ways, including making unauthorized copies of any copyrighted material and publishing another's copyrighted materials over computer networks.

Email
Like the Internet, email may be used to publish, manipulate, or otherwise attribute original works of authorship. Such action may constitute copyright infringement.

Software Copyright Infringement
Software Copyright Infringement includes receiving and/or using unauthorized copies of software, making unauthorized copies of software for oneself or others, or attempting to modify the computer systems in any unauthorized manner.

     a. Software License Agreements. Husson has purchased licenses that permit members of its community to access and use many software packages and files that are protected and regulated by copyright law. Software license agreements are contracts in                    which the seller agrees to provide the program, provided that the buyer agrees to abide by the rules of the license. Most of the software used at Husson is licensed to Husson through independent software companies.

     b. Ethical and Legal Use of Software. Copyrighted software must only be used in accordance with the license and purchase agreement between Husson and independent vendors. Users do not have the right to make copies of licensed software, modify, and/or              distribute such copies to anyone. Only authorized copying of files or programs or program utilization is ethical and legal.

Fair Use Doctrine

To determine whether particular uses of a copyrighted work are permissible, the courts often refer to the fair use doctrine, described in U.S.C. Title 17, section 107. The fair use doctrine considers:

1.    The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

2.    The nature of the copyrighted work;

3.    The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

4.    The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
Husson's policy is to adhere strictly to the letter and spirit of copyright laws and regulations. Copyright infringement may be subject to disciplinary and/or legal action. For additional discussion, see the Enforcement section of this policy.

Enforcement

The use of Husson's digital environment is a privilege. While student tuition makes possible many of the services available to students, staff and faculty, there are no fees paid by students to directly establish or maintain any information resources. Any user who violates the Husson digital environment or related Husson policies may have his or her access privileges terminated. Additionally, such misconduct may subject the violator to disciplinary action under standard Husson disciplinary rules, personnel processes and, in some cases, criminal prosecution.

Copyright
Any use of the Husson digital environment that violates applicable copyright laws is subject to appropriate disciplinary action as well as those civil remedies and criminal penalties provided by federal law.

Applicability of Other Policies
Husson's sexual harassment policy and other policies regarding appropriate conduct are applicable to all uses of the Digital environment. This includes communications sent off campus via Husson access to email and the Internet.

Investigation
Alleged violations of the Digital Environment Policy are subject to investigation. In the event of an investigation, Husson reserves the right to access private information, including the contents of files and mailboxes while making every effort to keep such investigations confidential. Husson may access email accounts to satisfy a legal obligation. Any administrator who believes such actions are necessary must first obtain the approval of an appropriate administrative authority.

Reporting Violations
The department appropriate to the nature of the complaint and/or violation will handle violations of the Digital Environment Policy. For example, violations of Husson harassment or discrimination policies should be directed to Human Resources, Office of Student Services, or the Student Affairs. Violations unique to the Digital Environment Policy should be directed to the Director of the Information Resources Office.

Liability/Warranty

Husson is unable to warrant that its digital environment is virus free, or that all hardware and/or software used to access the Digital environment will be compatible with the Husson system.

Use and/or access to Husson's digital environment does not entitle the user to seek indirect, consequential, special, punitive, peremptory, or like damages from Husson in connection with such use and access.

Revisions to the Digital Environment Policy
This policy is subject to change without advance notice. All users are responsible for keeping abreast of any changes made to this policy. Any updates will be available on the Information Resources Office Web site at http://www.husson.edu/iro/policy/.