Technology Policies at Dickinson

This online policy content is provided as a resource for the students, faculty, staff, and administration of Dickinson College. Content is subject to change. Please contact the appropriate person or office to obtain the most current information.

Computer Usage: Rights and Responsibilities

The Responsible Use Policy applies to all members of the Dickinson College community. It meets the needs of the college to provide a clear policy regarding the use of college-owned resources for electronic communications and Internet services.

This policy was developed after a review of policies that are used at other institutions of higher education and in consultation with subject and legal experts. It has been discussed with the Faculty Personnel Committee, the Information Technology and Services Committee and other members of the college community. Careful attention has been paid to maintaining academic freedom as well as to safeguarding personal privacy. The policy strikes a reasonable balance between individual’s open access to electronic communications and the college’s need to protect itself as a provider of electronic services and the members of the community.

There are two ways material may be reviewed. The first is through the discipline process where someone has filed a complaint. The second is identified in the first paragraph of the policy and deals with monitoring. Monitoring means that as part of systems or performance monitoring, or upon receiving claims of wrongdoing or harassment, i.e. a complaint received by the Help Desk, Library & Information Services (LIS) staff can “look” to the extent necessary to determine that personal use is or is not in compliance with the policy. This means that authorized LIS staff would look first at the pattern of traffic, not the content of the traffic. If, based upon this monitoring, reason to be concerned arises, LIS staff may proceed to look further, but only to the point that a violation is established. At that point the LIS staff would refer the matter to the disciplinary process described in the policy.

Electronic Communications with Students Policy

Dickinson College uses electronic mail (e-mail) as one means of conveying official notifications and communications to its students. Each student is provided with a Dickinson e-mail account for this purpose. You are responsible for receiving, reading, responding to, and complying with official e-mail communications from the college and college officials. These include, but are not limited to, communications from the President, Provost and Dean of the College, Vice President for Student Development, Dean of Students, Registrar, Financial Aid, Public Safety and other offices, as well as communications from your professors. If you do not have regular access to e-mail, you must make arrangements with the college for alternative means of communication. You are also responsible for ensuring that there is enough space in your e-mail accounts to receive messages. Instructions on maintaining and cleaning out Dickinson e-mail accounts can be found on the LIS Web site.

Policy for Responsible Use of Electronic Communications and Network Services

Use of college-owned computers and the campus network and other communications systems is considered a privilege, not a right. The college reserves the right to limit, restrict, or extend computing/networking privileges and access to computer resources. Electronic communications, including electronic mail, mailboxes, Internet and the contents, (subject to the intellectual property policies of the college) created or stored on any college computer/network related equipment, are the sole property of the college. Computers and the campus network are provided to assist students and employees in the completion of their academic pursuits and job duties and to support the college’s daily operations and long term goals. The college reserves the right to monitor computer/network communications, including Internet access and e-mail at its discretion for legitimate business and educational purposes. Legitimate purposes may include but are not limited to: periodic systems checks; checks for inappropriate personal use of college equipment, investigations into claims of wrongdoing; locating information stored in files required for the conduct of business; and quality control.

You should be aware that your e-mail messages, even those marked personal or those which must be accessed with personal identification or password, may be reviewed by the college to ensure proper usage consistent with this policy.

We urge you to use restraint when drafting e-mail messages. Employees and students should use the same caution in drafting and transmitting e-mail messages as they would when writing a formal memorandum. Always assume that your messages will be saved and may be reviewed by someone other than the original addressee; these messages can be subpoenaed by court order.

The primary use of the computer and the Dickinson campus network must be related to legitimate academic pursuits, the college’s business and/or the employee’s job functions within the college. Personal computer use is permitted provided that such use:
  • Does not affect productivity, quality or service to students and others whom we serve.
  • Does not interfere with the user’s job responsibilities or other obligations to the college.
  • Does not create a conflict of interest or contribute to personal financial gain.
  • Does not directly or indirectly interfere with the college’s operation of electronic mail services, computing capacity or network capacity.
  • Does not violate any of the guidelines and procedures contained in this and other applicable laws or Dickinson college policies including other Acceptable Use Policies currently in effect at Dickinson and the college’s policy on harassment.
  • Provided that established computer naming formats are followed.

Employees and students are prohibited from using college-owned computers and/or college-provided computer/network services to:
  • Download offensive or derogatory material from the Internet.
  • Duplicate copyrighted or licensed software or use illegal copies of software. These practices may also be violations of federal law.
  • Send harassing or offensive communications over computer lines, including initiating or forwarding electronic chain letters.
  • Gain or attempt to gain unauthorized access to or make unauthorized use of, another’s individual ID and/or password, computer accounts, disks, files, equipment, networks or facilities.
  • Violate the privacy of others by reading their files or computer mail.
  • Intentionally erase stored information or modify equipment, accounts, disks, or files which are not  your own.
  • Attempt to deceive other computer users through false representation or forgery.
  • Attempt to defeat any security mechanisms, including automatic idle session timeouts, which have been put in place to protect the integrity of computer systems, information, and networks.
  • Intentionally introduce harmful software or release a virus, worm or other program that damages or otherwise harms a system or network.
  • Interfere with any other person’s fair use of computer systems.
  • Compromise any computer system by releasing privileged or sensitive information, including  personal passwords.
  • Run a personal business.
  • Violate any local, state or federal law.
  • Establish workgroup file sharing, print sharing or peer to peer services on any segment of the Dickinson campus network without approval and verification from LIS.
  • Implement private wireless access points on the Dickinson campus network per the policy for  Wireless Internet Access.

The prohibited uses are not intended to restrict academic freedom. Nevertheless, members of the college community will remain responsible for prohibited uses which have no reasonable relationship to teaching, learning or scholarly research.

Employees and students are advised that continued use of the college’s computers/networks constitutes consent to monitoring of electronic communications, including electronic mail, mailboxes, Internet and the contents created or stored on any college computer/network related equipment and is conditioned upon strict adherence to college policy. Failure to adhere to this policy may result in the loss of e-mail and/or computing/ networking privileges and discipline up to and including censure, expulsion or termination in addition to any applicable civil or criminal penalties.

Disciplinary actions involving faculty will be initiated by the Provost and Dean of the College after consulting with the Faculty Personnel Committee. Disciplinary actions involving college administrators or staff will be referred to the normal personnel procedures by the employee’s division head. Disciplinary actions involving students will be referred to the student disciplinary hearing process by the Dean of Students or his/her designee. Continued use of the college’s e-mail system constitutes acceptance of this policy.

Unauthorized Peer to Peer Networking Policy

Unauthorized peer to peer (P2P) networking involves at least two issues. First, unless authorized in advance by Library and Information Services (LIS), P2P networking in and of itself violates the Policy for Responsible Use of Electronic Communications and Network Services agreed to by all students as a condition for using the campus network. Such activity is generally prohibited because it has the potential of degrading overall network performance. Second, P2P networking may also involve illegal file sharing, a violation of federal law. The complete Unauthorized Peer to Peer Networking Policy can be found on the LIS Web site at lis.dickinson.edu/Technology/Policies/peer-to-peer.htm.

Wireless Access Policy

The Library & Information Services division (LIS) is solely responsible for installing and maintaining wireless access points (WAP) and wireless networking services on the Dickinson College campus network. LIS will support and maintain the devices that it installs. No other WAPs are permitted to be connected to the Dickinson College network. Examples of prohibited WAPs include streaming video devices, wireless printers, and smartphone personal 'hot spots'. The Dickinson College Policy for Responsible Use of Electronic Communications and Network Services governs the use of the wireless network. Unauthorized WAPs will be removed from the Dickinson College network. The owner of the unauthorized WAP will be considered to have committed a violation of the Responsible Use Policy.

For more information on any Technology Policies, please see their website here.