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Acceptable Use Policy

Policy for the Responsible Use of Computer and Technology Resources

The use of University-owned computer and technology resources by Point Park students, employees and guests is intended for purposes relating to the mission of the University and the academic purposes for which the University exists. While the University respects the individual’s rights and protections under the First Amendment, it expects all users of its resources to abide by good sense, University policy, and local, state, and federal laws.

Under this policy, Point Park students, employees and guests have certain rights and responsibilities. Because the computer and technology-related resources at Point Park represent shared and finite resources, it is important for all users of such resources to remember that their actions can impact others’ abilities to enjoy their rights. Activities that extraordinarily impair a Point Park user’s ability to utilize the resources in the manner in which they are intended or those that interfere with the operation of the University will not be tolerated, and appropriate action will be taken.

Please refer to the Staff, Faculty and/or Student Handbook for more information pertaining to general University policies, technology-related policies, and disciplinary measures.

Rights:

Assignment of Accounts

All Point Park students, employees and guests are invited to utilize a level of technology resources appropriate to their needs. All Point Park employees are entitled to an email account, access to the Internet, and access to academic and administrative programs where necessary. Enrolled students are entitled to a network and email account as well as a home directory, which can be used from any Point Park computer lab or from the residence halls.

Removal of Accounts

Employees who voluntarily terminate their employment with Point Park will have their network, email, and administrative system accounts revoked upon completion of their last working day on-site. Employees whose termination is non-voluntary will have their accounts revoked upon request by the assistant vice president of human resources and/or an officer of the University. Students who graduate or leave Point Park will have their accounts removed within thirty (30) days of their departure. It is the responsibility of the departing student to extract any files from his/her account prior to its removal.

Use of Resources

Any Point Park employee, student or non-Point Park dorm resident may use the computers in the open labs at no charge; however, users of these facilities are asked to limit their usage to academic activities only. It is expected that users of Point Park computer and technology resources will do so in a manner that supports Point Park-related activities. Non-matriculated students or residents who are under 18 will be required to have a parent or guardian’s permission to utilize the resources.

Safety

Users of Point Park computer and technology resources are entitled to use such facilities in a safe manner. The University will take all reasonable precautions to provide safe access, but cannot guarantee a user’s safety. If a computer user feels as though s/he is in danger in a lab, or through electronics means such as email harassment or electronic stalking, s/he should report such incidents to the Department of Public Safety immediately.

Access to Information

Point Park University will not censor access to information freely available on the Internet. However, it is the responsibility of the computer user to abide by all federal, state, and local laws regarding access to information, including text, pictures, audio and video recordings, and other electronic data. Certain Point Park policies will also apply to access to institutional data, and will be implemented in accordance with Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act and its subsequent amendments.

Freedom of Expression

Point Park reserves the right to review a computer user’s individual home page for appropriate content.  Content should reflect the mission, vision and standards of the University.   The Information posted must not be represented as an official opinion or viewpoint of Point Park University.  Computer users must abide by all federal, state, and local laws regarding posting of illegal or copyrighted information on their home pages or home directories.

Privacy

Computer users must recognize that electronic messages and files are neither secure nor private communications. While Point Park will take reasonable measures to protect information that is transmitted electronically, it cannot guarantee that such information will remain private. As the owner of University computer and technology resources, Point Park reserves its right to inspect, log, and/or archive data files stored on University-owned computers and messages transmitted across its network. Such activities will not occur as a matter of course, but may occur with cause if it is necessary to investigate a suspected breach of internal policy or external law. Authorized Information Technology Services personnel may also inadvertently view or access data files or messages while performing system maintenance or management functions, but will maintain the confidentiality of the information.

Official University Information

Only those individuals who have been granted the right and responsibility to post information on the official Point Park website will be permitted to do so. Only those individuals who have been granted the right and responsibility to transmit official Point Park information via electronic means will be permitted to do so.

Responsibilities:

Accounts

Each computer user is responsible for any activity that occurs from her/his account. Accounts are given to individuals, and are not permitted to be shared with friends, family members, classmates, co-workers, or any other individual or group.

Disclosure of Information

Unless permitted by law, or requested by law enforcement officials, no information pertaining to anyone affiliated with Point Park will be disclosed for any reason. Computer users who are authorized to have access to confidential or protected information will not under any circumstances (except as described above) disclose institutional information.

Internet Service Provider Acceptable Use Policy

All computer users are expected to abide by the Point Park internet service provider’s acceptable use policy. The University’s current ISP is Comcast, and its policy can be found at: http://business.comcast.com/customer-notifications/acceptable-use-policy

Prohibited Activities

This list is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather provides general guidelines for activities that are prohibited on Point Park computers and networks. Point Park reserves the right to make additions, modifications, and deletions to this list without prior notice.

  • Computer users are prohibited from utilizing Point Park computer or technology resources to violate a federal, state, or local law.
  • Computer users are prohibited from installing, transporting, and/or using hardware or software that can function as a mechanism to compromise or infiltrate system or network security on any computer system, Point Park or otherwise (including, without limitation, port scanners, network probes, “sniffers”, network vulnerability tests, traffic monitoring, mailbombing, flooding, broadcast attacks, IP address forging, concealing of identity, “denial of service” attacks, and other activities that attempt to use Point Park technology-related resources to gain or attempt to gain unauthorized access to local or remote computers).
  • Computer users are prohibited from connecting hubs, routers, switches, network attached storage, and/or wireless access points/devices to the Point Park network.
  • Computer users are prohibited from installing, transporting, and/or using password capture, cracking, or hacking programs.
  • Computer users are prohibited from engaging in the creation or distribution, intentional or otherwise, of programs which could result in the eventual destruction of computer resources, including data files (including, without limitation, viruses, Trojan horses, and worms)
  • Computer users are prohibited from utilizing computer or technology resources to commit violations of personal security (including, without limitation, harassment, use of anonymous e-mail, chain e-mail, nicknames, and/or handles with malicious intent)
  • Computer users are prohibited from creating, forwarding, and/or transporting electronic messages or files for the purpose of “mass mailings” (including, without limitation, spam, chain e-mail)
    Computer users are prohibited from making unauthorized use of a network account (including, without limitation, use of a Point Park account that is not your own or permitting others to use your Point Park account)
  • Computer users are prohibited from violating copyright laws and software licensing agreements (including, without limitation, the creation, acquisition, modification, and/or distribution of software, images, audio and video recordings, text, and other protected material for which the user does not own the copyright)
  • Computer users are prohibited from using Point Park resources for commercial, religious, or political activity other than official Point Park-sanctioned activities (including, without limitation, personal financial gain, political persuasion, and other activities which might jeopardize the University’s tax exempt status)
  • Computer users are prohibited from using Point Park resources to aid or assist internal or external computer/network users in the operation of their systems for activities legal or otherwise (including, without limitation, mail forwarding programs, IRC bouncers)
  • Computer users are prohibited from using Point Park resources for computer programs that perform “server” functions and/or generate unnecessary network traffic, unless specifically authorized (including, without limitation, web hosting and co-location, IRC servers, FTP servers, firewalls, WINS servers, DHCP servers, SMS servers, domain servers, mail servers, news servers, DNS servers, remote access servers, routers, servers/programs that listen to a network port)
  • Computer users are prohibited from altering, removing, adding, or enhancing any Point Park computer or communication resource (including, without limitation, telephone jacks, network jacks, cable TV jacks)
  • Computer users are prohibited from releasing confidential or institutional information unless permitted by law. Confidential student data may only be utilized for official University business and made available to members of the University community who have a legitimate educational interest on a need to know basis.

Prohibited Activities

Any Point Park student, employee or guest who improperly uses technology-related resources is subject to disciplinary measures, including, without limitation, revocation of network account. Activities deemed to be in violation of local, state, or federal laws will be reported to the appropriate authorities.

Disciplinary processes already defined in employee and student handbooks will be followed where possible. Decisions pertaining to the revocation of a network account will be made based upon the severity of the infraction and the employee or student’s need for this account to perform his/her job or course studies.

Special note regarding peer-to-peer file sharing programs that promote the exchange of software and multimedia files:

At this time, Point Park University is not banning access to or use of these sites or programs. However, all students, employees and guests of Point Park are asked to keep the following facts in mind:

  • These programs utilize an excessive amount of “bandwidth”, which is the pipeline the University uses to connect to the Internet. The exchange of MP3 and other multimedia files can, and will, bring a network to a grinding halt. Your participation in the exchange of these files will severely limit access to resources by your peers, as their participation will affect yours.
  • Many of the audio and video files available on the Internet have been illegally created and obtained. Point Park has a “zero tolerance” policy for copyright infringement and will invoke disciplinary measures when necessary.
  • Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing may subject students to copyright violation and may subject the student to civil and criminal penalties.  Point Park University also reserves the right to follow its own disciplinary actions related to these types of violations as documented in the following:
    • Point Park University Student Code of Conduct
    • Point Park University Staff Handbook 
    • Point Park University Faculty Handbook

Original policy: Aug. 18, 2000
Revised: Dec. 10, 2013