Institutional Issues Computing Policy

Introduction

Computer, networking and electronic mail facilities and services are offered by the Information Technology Unit in support of the teaching and learning, research and public service functions of the College. Access to the computer systems and networks owned and operated by SUNY Optometry is a privilege, not a right, and imposes certain responsibilities for appropriate use, in accordance with College policy. Users should recognize that the primary intention of providing network service is to support the educational mission of the College and the conduct of its daily business.

In general, appropriate use means respecting the rights of other computer users; the integrity of the physical facilities; all pertinent license, copyright and contractual agreements; as well as local, state and federal laws.

Responsible Use

Users are expected to use SUNY Optometry computer and network services in a legal, effective, ethical, responsible and efficient manner, consistent with the instructional, research, public service and administrative goals of the College.

Institutional Computer Use Policies

The following issues pertain to computer users at the College in general, but particularly to institutional settings such as faculty, staff and graduate student offices. Computer users are expected to attend to the following issues in a network and institutional context.

Adherence to Copyright

  • SUNY Optometry equipment and software may not be used in any way that violates copyrights, patent protections or the terms of any license agreement.
  • The unauthorized installation, use or copying of any software licensed or protected by copyright is theft, and is prohibited. This includes unauthorized copying of software onto college equipment, or the inappropriate copying of college-owned software onto personal machines.

Changes to the campus network

  • Campus network services, equipment, wiring, or jacks may not be altered, moved or extended beyond the location of their intended use without prior coordination with, and written approval of, the Office of Information Technology.

User Support

  • Consult the following listing for current versions of supported software.
  • Although users are not prohibited from installing their own (legal) software on office computers, equipment or software problems that result from the use of non-supported software are the responsibility of the individual.

Commercial Use

  • The campus network may not be used for commercial or profit-making enterprises, except for those commercial activities officially sanctioned by the College in writing.
  • No output should be printed for profit.


User Responsibilities

Treat electronic information as a valuable College resource

  • Individuals are responsible for safeguarding their own data, and that of key institutional files. Files should be backed up regularly using tape drives, zip disks, floppy disks, paper, CD, USB flash drives or other media.
  • All valuable media should be retained in a secure place. Valuable files should be backed up with multiple copies; at least one backup copy should be secured off site.
  • Users should not rely on a single media type for all their files, i.e, diskettes can and do go bad.
  • If information must be kept secure, it should not be stored on a networked computer.
  • Sensitive material should be removed when old diskettes or old computers are discarded or destroyed.
  • Individuals who transfer files between their home and work computers should be sure to use an anti-virus program at home and to keep office anti-virus programs current.

Downloading Unknown File Attachments

  • Home computers and e-mail attachments are prime sources of computer viruses.
  • File attachments of unknown origin (e.g. screensavers) should not be downloaded onto any College computer.

Stay Informed 

  • The computing environment is constantly evolving, as new products are introduced or upgraded and others become obsolete. Services change as the number and needs of users change.
  • The Office of Information Technology disseminates information in a variety of ways, including News announcements, bulletin board postings, FAQ files, Tip Sheets, and workshops. Users are responsible for staying informed about changes in the computing environment.

Password protection guidelines

  • Individuals are responsible for all usage on their assigned accounts, and for guarding the privacy of those accounts.
  • Upon receipt of one's account and initial password, the password should be changed immediately.
  • The following should not be used as passwords: login names, the name of any family or pet, nor any personal information, birth date, etc.
  • The use of all numeric passwords, or a password shorter than six characters, is not recommended
  • Passwords saved on one's desktop computer potentially allow any individual to access applicable files and/or e-mail account information upon gaining access to that office. Saving your password on your desktop computer is not recommended.

Office of Information Technology Service Priorities and Procedures

  • Priority is given to system-wide maintenance, problems and initiatives over stand-alone desktop concerns of specific individuals
  • Priority is given to supporting groups of individuals (i.e., public access labs) over individuals
  • Information Technology staff are available to advise other units in the planning of new technology initiatives, and to coordinate with outside consultants in conjunction with unit representatives, but cannot be held responsible for problems in systems implemented without their input.
  • Emphasis will be given to support of mission-critical functions and services relating to the instructional and communication needs of the organization
  • Supported software will be clearly identified (see below); other programs are the responsibility of the user
  • Supported hardware will be clearly identified (see below); other equipment is the responsibility of the user
  • On-site service contracts are mandated for all new computer purchases or campus programs involving heavy use of technology
  • Technical self-sufficiency for routine questions is encouraged. Users are encouraged to contact software or hardware distributors, access Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) files on relevant web sites, and consult with technically savvy colleagues in an effort to handle problems themselves
  • Computer, network, Internet and electronic mail capabilities are provided in support of the academic, research, public service and administrative functions of the College. Information Technology staff cannot assist users with technical problems or questions relating to other applications and systems
  • Although Information Technology staff take reasonable precautions to safeguard the email system and maintain regular backup procedures, they cannot be held accountable for unauthorized access by other users, nor can they guarantee protection against media failure, fire, floods, hackers, viruses, etc.
  • The Information Technology Unit reserves the right to limit daily hours of account access and/or the maximum size of user accounts, or other measures as needed to ensure system functionality. These efforts may include limits on the size of attachments, on the total number of stored email messages allowed, or the amount of file space allotted to each account on the server. Emergency situations can and do arise which require that such actions be taken on an immediate basis.

Supported Software and Hardware

Consult the following listing for current versions of supported software and hardware.

Privacy and Access

A network account is a privilege, not a right, and the establishment of an account does not grant or guarantee unlimited or unrestricted access. While account holders may expect reasonable access to their network accounts, this cannot be guaranteed at all times and in all circumstances. In particular, there is no guarantee of round-the-clock, seven day a week (24x7) access.

Information Technology staff routinely monitor overall system usage in order to track system problems. This involves the monitoring of overall traffic levels and usage patterns; it does not involve examination of email or other actual content. It is not the practice of the Office of Information Technology to read nor to discuss the content of any files, with the following exceptions:

  • Court order or law enforcement investigation may require the examination and release of any document, including electronic files such as email. When a person affiliated with the College is involved, the Information Technology Unit will act only under the specific written instructions of the President, to ensure that individual rights, including rights to privacy and due process, are maintained.
  • In cases involving suspected illegal, fraudulent or inappropriate uses of the system, the Office of Information Technology may, at the specific written instructions of the President, monitor system usage of a particular individual, in a manner that ensures that rights of due process are maintained.
  • Examples of when the Postmaster might have occasion to review email files are addressed in the Public Access Facilities and Electronic Mail Policy.

Disabling Accounts

It may be occasionally necessary for the SUNY Optometry Post Master or other Information Technology staff to make an account inaccessible. This could be necessary for one of two reasons:

  • As a prelude to some sort of further investigation (e.g. preventing an individual from tampering with their computer files before they can be examined)
  • Technical problems: An account is in some manner disrupting the system, for example through a network intensive application, or a defective computer.

Account Expiration, Suspension and Removal

User accounts of graduating students will be closed in August following Commencement.

Accounts of faculty/staff who are no longer employed at the College, and students withdrawing from the program, will be closed following completion of the appropriate Separation Form returned to the Student Affairs or Personnel Offices, respectively. Messages sent to closed e-mail accounts will be bounced from the system and returned to sender with an error message.

Violations of this Policy

Violations of this policy may result in the suspension or permanent closing of user accounts, campus disciplinary action, legal action and/or other action.

Adapted from the following documents: Acceptable Use Policy for Computer Facilities at Nassau Community College; Colby College E-mail Policy and Procedures; Computing and Network Facilities Access and Utilization, SUNY Geneseo; Computer Ethics Policy (Purchase College, SUNY); Conditions of Use: University Computing & Information Technology Resources (University at Buffalo); Electronic Mail (Email) Policy at SUNY Potsdam; Guidelines for Ethical Use of Computing Resources (Kansas State University); Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy, SUNY Potsdam; Oklahoma State University Policy on Use of Electronic Mail; SUNY Brockport Computing Code of Ethics; SUNY Oswego Network Acceptable Use Policy; Using Computer Resources at Brown University, and "Revising Acceptable Use Policy" to Account for Cultural Developments on the Net" (Cause/Effect, Winter 1997-98).