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Technology Resources

Policy on the use of University-owned 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, students 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 for which they are intended, or those that interfere with the operation of the University, will not be tolerated and appropriate action will be taken.

Key sections

Rights

Assignment of Accounts

All Point Park students are invited to utilize a level of technology resources appropriate to their needs. Currently enrolled students are entitled to internet access and an email account. Students are expected to use their University email address for all official and academic-related correspondence with instructors and other students. This is the only email address that is acceptable for course-related correspondence. In addition, students are expected to check their Point Park email address frequently for official University announcements and information, and as a result, will be held accountable for having received that information.

Removal of Accounts

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 student 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. Nonmatriculated students and resident students 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 electronic means such as email harassment or electronic stalking, s/he should report such incidents to the Department of Public Safety.

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 and Privacy Act (FERPA) 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 all 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 IT Center 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. Point Park University reserves the right to search data stored on its servers should it be suspected that a user is violating a policy or guideline.

Official University Information

Only those individuals who have been granted the right and responsibility to post information on the official Point Park web site 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 www.comcast.com/Corporate/Customers/Policies/HighSpeed-InternetAUP.html. Point Park University takes reasonable measures to secure electronic information. Students, faculty, and staff must also be responsible for
the protection of their password and ensure that their accounts are logged off when in open lab environments.

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, mail bombing, 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, 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 that 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 email, chain email, 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 and chain email.
  • 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 that 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.

Policy Violations

Any Point Park student 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 the Student Planner and Handbook 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 student’s need for this account to perform his/her job or course studies.

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 of Point Park are asked to keep the following facts in mind:

  1. 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.
  2. 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. Please be considerate, and obey the law. Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing may subject students to copyright violation and 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 Student Code of Conduct.

Social Media Policy

If you have access to a computer, you are likely plugged-in to social media on some level. Whether you are commenting on your favorite blog, sharing pictures with friends on Facebook, or tweeting your most recent experience, Web 2.0 is a part of how you stay connected.

Point Park University has a unique student body with a unique point of view. You are encouraged to embrace social media as a means of expressing your ideas and featuring your work. This policy outlines several key points to remember as you participate in online communities.

Blogging
  • You are legally responsible for your blog posts, both as an administrator and as a commenter. This means that you may be subject to liability if your posts are found to be defamatory, harassing, or in violation of any other applicable law. A good rule of thumb is to follow the Student Code of Conduct when you blog or comment on a blog.
  • Your posts are open to public viewing. If you feel even slightly uncomfortable with something you are about to publish, don’t shrug off that feeling. Review this policy, try to figure out what it is that bothers you about the content, and then fix it.

Students whose posts are found to be defamatory, harassing, or in violation of any other applicable law or University policy may be subject to disciplinary action.

Social Networking Web Sites (Twitter, Facebook, Daily Booth)
  • Even when your profile is private, the information you post can easily be made public with a simple copy and paste. Be smart about what you publish. Once you put something online, it can be very difficult to take back.
  • If something gives you pause before you post it, take a moment to consider why you might be hesitating. Be sure you feel completely comfortable with the content you are sharing on social networking sites.
  • Not only can your friends read and see everything you post, but so can your parents, grandparents, teachers, mentors, and even potential employers. Conduct yourself accordingly.

Students whose posts are found to be defamatory, harassing, or in violation of any other applicable law or University policy may be subject to disciplinary action.

Content Sharing Web Sites (flickr, YouTube, vimeo)

Intellectual property, including copyrighted materials, trademarks, patents, designs, music, photography, film, video, choreography, or theatrical works, is bound by the same rules and regulations online as it is offline. Intellectual property belongs to the copyright owner, who has the sole right to grant permission for its use, whether it is for a television broadcast or a YouTube video. Below are some resources to help you develop your web content without misusing intellectual property.

  • Check out Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org) if you are interested in using someone else’s copyrighted material. Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation, which provides free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof.
  • A subscription to Royalty-Free Music (www.royaltyfreemusic.com/) lets you download royalty-free music up to a certain monthly or yearly limit.
  • A number of online image libraries exist which provide a large bank of pictures that you can use freely or for minimal cost. A great example is Stock.XCHNG (http://www.sxc.hu/).
  • If you’re quoting a source, be sure to cite the appropriate reference. There are a number of styles that you can follow, but the point here is to make certain you give credit where it is due.

Students who post materials protected by copyright, including research, photography, music, film, video or recordings of performances, online without permission of the copyright holder will be subject to disciplinary action.

Disciplinary Action

Any violation of the Student Code of Conduct through online activities will be cause for disciplinary action as described in the Student Planner and Handbook.