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Computer Resource Guidelines
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Computer resources at Northeast State are available to all students, faculty, and staff for authorized use in a responsible, ethical, and equitable manner. It is the responsibility of the Office of Information Technology personnel to maintain a stable operational environment for all users and institutional programs. Cooperation of all users in the form of ethical and responsible behavior is required at all times so that all may share resources freely and equitably.
The following lists of user responsibilities are intended to be illustrative, and not exhaustive. Subject to conformance with Federal and State of Tennessee law and with State of Tennessee and Tennessee Board of Regents policies, Northeast State is authorized to supplement the user responsibilities listed below.
- Users shall obtain proper authorization before using TBR or Northeast State information technology resources.
- Users shall not use TBR or Northeast State information technology resources for purposes beyond those for which they are authorized.
- Users shall not share access privileges (account numbers and passwords) with persons who are not authorized to use them.
- Users shall not use TBR or Northeast State information technology resources in an attempt to access or to actually access computers external to the TBR or Northeast State system when that access is not authorized by the computer’s owner (no “hacking” allowed).
Respect for Others
- A user shall not attempt to obstruct usage or deny access to other users.
- Users shall not transmit or distribute material that would be in violation of existing TBR or Northeast State policies or guidelines using Northeast State information technology resources.
- Users shall respect the privacy of other users, and specifically shall not read, delete, copy, or modify another user’s data, information, files, e-mail or programs (collectively, “electronic files”) without the other user’s permission. Users should note that there should be no expectation of privacy in electronic files stored on the resident memory of a computer available for general public access, and such files are subject to unannounced deletion.
- Users shall not intentionally introduce any program or data intended to disrupt normal operations (e.g. a “computer virus” or “worm”) into Northeast State information technology resources.
- Forgery or attempted forgery of e-mail messages is prohibited.
- Sending or attempts to send unsolicited junk mail or chain letters is prohibited.
- Flooding or attempts to flood a user’s mailbox is prohibited.
Respect for State-owned property
- A user shall not intentionally, recklessly or negligently misuse, damage or vandalize Northeast State information technology resources.
- A user shall not attempt to modify Northeast State information technology resources without authorization.
- A user shall not circumvent or attempt to circumvent normal resource limits, logon procedures or security regulations.
- A user shall not use Northeast State information technology resources for purposes other than those for which they were intended or authorized.
- A user shall not use Northeast State information technology resources for any private or personal for-profit activity.
- Except for those not-for-profit business activities which are directly related to an employee’s job responsibilities or which are directly related to an organization which is affiliated with Northeast State, a user shall not use Northeast State information technology resources for any not-for-profit business activities, unless authorized by the President (or his designee).
- Users shall at all times endeavor to use Northeast State information technology resources in an efficient and productive manner, and shall specifically avoid excessive game playing, printing excessive copies of document files, data, or programs; or attempting to crash or tie-up computer resources.
Additional Responsibilities of Employees and Independent Contractors
- Users who are Employees and Independent Contractors shall not make use of Northeast State information technology resources for purposes which do not conform to the purposes, goals, and mission of Northeast State and to the user’s job duties and responsibilities.
- Users shall not use Northeast State information technology resources for solicitation for religious or political causes.
No unlawful uses permitted
Users shall not engage in unlawful uses of the information technology system resources of the TBR or Northeast State. Unlawful activities are violative of this policy and may also subject persons engaging in these activities to civil and/or criminal penalties. This list of unlawful activities is illustrative and not intended to be exhaustive. Questions concerning potential unlawful use of information technology may be directed to the Vice President for Information Technology.
The distribution and display of obscene materials is prohibited by the laws of Tennessee (see Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-902). Obscene materials are defined under Tennessee law (see T.C.S. § 39-17-901(10)) as those materials which:
- The average person applying contemporary community standards would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest;
- The average person applying contemporary community standards would find that the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct; and;
- The work, taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
Federal law (18 U.S.C. 2252) prohibits sexual exploitation of a minor, including knowingly possessing materials implying minors engaging in sexual activity. The violation of this section is a Class E felony.
Defamation is a civil tort that occurs when one, without privilege, publishes a false and defamatory statement, which damages the reputation of another.
Violation of Copyright
Federal law gives the holder of copyright five exclusive rights, including the right to exclude others from reproducing the copyrighted work. Sanctions for violation of copyright can be very substantial. Beyond the threat of legally imposed sanctions, violation of copyright is unethical appropriation of the fruits of another’s labor.
Pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, the TBR designated agent for receipt of complaints of copyright infringement occurring with the use of Northeast State information technology resources is the Tennessee Board of Regents Assistant Vice Chancellor for Information Technology. Northeast State has designated the Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness as Northeast State’s campus agent regarding complaints of copyright infringement.
Gambling, including that performed with the aid of the Internet, is prohibited under Tennessee law (see Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-502).
Violators of the college computer use guidelines will be subject to immediate suspension of their user account; referral to police agencies in the case of suspected federal or state law violations; loss of computing access privileges; and possible suspension or expulsion from the college.
All Northeast State employees and students are eligible for an account on the computer systems. Administrative computer user accounts will be established upon the request of a vice president, dean, division chair or director. All requests for the establishment of user accounts shall be submitted on a Computer Account Request form. Users needing access to administrative databases are also required to complete an Administrative Database Authorization Request form. The original request forms are kept on file in the Office of Information Technology.
Student accounts are established on the network server at the beginning of each semester. Student e-mail accounts are active for the semester in which the student is enrolled and are automatically renewed for subsequent semesters. When a student has not been enrolled in the college for two consecutive semesters, their e-mail account is removed from the system.
Privacy Considerations, Electronic Mail and/or Data Files
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In an operational sense, electronic mail and files in accounts and on the network are regarded as private; that is, employees of Northeast State do not routinely look at this information. However, Northeast State reserves the right to view or scan any file or software stored on the college system or transmitted over the college network, and may do so periodically to verify that software and hardware are working correctly, to look for particular types of data or software (such as computer viruses), or to audit the use of resources. Electronic mail and data on college computing systems or transmitted over the college network may be periodically copied to backup tapes. Material of questionable content that may come to the attention of the college personnel during these and other activities may be acted upon. Faculty, staff, and students of the college are encouraged to exercise good judgment in the use of computing resources, data, and electronic mail.
Northeast State makes reasonable efforts to maintain confidentiality and, when sources outside the college request an inspection and/or examination of any college owned or operated communications system, computing resource, and/or files or information contained therein, Northeast State will treat files and information as confidential unless any one or more of the following conditions exist:
- when approved by the President of Northeast State Community College
- when authorized by the owner(s) of the information
- when required by federal, state or local law
- when required by a valid subpoena or court order
When notice is required by law, court order or subpoena, computer users will receive prior notice of such disclosures (viewing information in the course of normal system testing or maintenance does not constitute disclosure).