Electronic Communications Acceptable Use Policy

Policy Name: Electronic Communications Acceptable Use Policy

Policy Number: IT-6000

Effective: Legacy

Revised: Not applicable

Policy Statement

2.8.1 Introduction

Holy Family University is pleased to offer its users access to a variety of electronic communications systems. Our goal in providing this access to University users is to promote excellence in higher education by facilitating resource sharing, innovation, and communication in support of the University mission. University users are defined as students, faculty, staff, and authorized guests. Electronic communications systems include all computing resources, such as e-mail, the computer network, Internet access, voice mail, distance education and telecommunications systems.

The electronic communications systems and the communications transmitted through them are the property of Holy Family University and are subject to acceptable use compliance. The smooth operation of these systems relies upon the proper conduct of University users, who must adhere to acceptable use guidelines. The use of the University's computing resources is a privilege, not a right. The University reserves the right to deny systems access or to cancel systems access at any time. All users are expected to use these systems in an appropriate and ethical manner for instructional, educational, and research purposes. Purpose

The purpose of the electronic communications systems is to contribute to the realization of the Holy Family University Mission through the utilization of information technology. It is expected that all users of all University technology resources be guided by the ethics, morals, values and standards of this institution as outlined in the Holy Family University Mission Statement.

The intent of this policy is to make clear the responsible use of the electronic communications systems, not to exhaustively enumerate all possible violations. The policy is intended to be a dynamic document that will be reviewed and updated periodically.

The policy establishes the foundation for guidelines and policies to address the following concern: The ability of the Holy Family University administrative computer system to provide educational record information to an increasing number of Holy Family University students, faculty and staff creates a risk that such data may be disclosed to individuals who have no legitimate educational interest (Guidelines for Postsecondary Institutions for Implementation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as Amended, 1995) hereafter referred to as FERPA.

FERPA establishes that: (1.) the development of guidelines and policies for restricting access so as to insure proper use of educational record data are institutional responsibilities, and (2.) Holy Family University has established procedures for initially instructing and periodically reminding school officials (i.e., individuals defined by Holy Family University as having a legitimate educational interest) of confidentiality requirements prior to granting a school official access to the student information system.

Users of the University administrative system receive notification that they are accessing information that is protected by FERPA. Disclosure to unauthorized parties violates Federal Law. Users should not attempt to proceed unless they have been specifically authorized to do so, and are informed about FERPA. When accessing the University administrative system, they must access only that information needed to complete their assigned or authorized task. Acceptable Use Overview

The following represents a guide to the acceptable use of the Holy Family University computing resources. Compliance with the policy is required for network access. Any user - in order to use the network or any other networks which are used as a result of their Holy Family University network connection - must comply with this policy. Logging into the network constitutes agreement to comply with the Acceptable Use Policy.

Responsibility for learning about and complying with Holy Family University's Acceptable Use Policy ultimately rests with the individual. Holy Family University will assist the user in understanding acceptable and unacceptable uses.

In general, the main principles of the Holy Family University computing resources Acceptable Use Policy include the following:

  • To respect the privacy and intellectual property rights of other users; for example, users shall not intentionally seek information on, obtain copies of, or modify files, other data, or passwords belonging to other users, or represent themselves as another user.
  • To respect the legal protection provided by copyright and license to programs, data, images and recordings.
  • To respect the integrity of computing systems; for example, users shall not intentionally develop programs that harass other users or infiltrate a computer or computing system and/or damage or alter the software components of a computer or computing system.
  • To respect the purpose of the Holy Family University computing resources. The use of University computing resources for commercial purposes or political lobbying is not permitted. While some personal use is permitted, such use should be limited to that which is appropriate for a professional academic environment.

Authorized Use 
Authorized use of Holy Family University-owned and operated computer and network resources is use consistent with the education, research and mission of the University, and this Policy.

Authorized Users 
An authorized user of the Holy Family University computer and network resources is a person granted valid access by Holy Family University to the network and or Holy Family University equipment and use of network services with any device, including but not limited to a computer, printer, or modem. Policy and Guidelines

The following policies and guidelines will be applied to determine acceptable use of the Holy Family University computing resources.

The VP for Information Technology is responsible for determination of acceptable uses of the Holy Family University computing resources and may suspend a user's rights during an investigation period.

Users of the Holy Family University computing resources are expected to practice cooperative computing. Cooperative computing includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Reading and deleting E-mail on a regular basis.
  • Use mailing lists and list servers responsibly; stop mail while away for extended periods of time.
  • Reviewing and deleting unneeded files weekly from one's account.
  • Refraining from excessive use of connect time, information storage space, printing facilities, or processing capacity.
  • Refraining from excessive use of interactive network utilities.
  • Refraining from use of sounds and visuals which might be disruptive or offensive to others.
  • Refraining from use of any computing resource in an irresponsible manner.
  • Refraining from unauthorized use of departmental or individual computing resources, such as a personal or departmental laser printer. Policy Regarding Abuse of Computers and Network Systems

Use should be consistent with the ethical standards accepted by the Holy Family University community. The Holy Family University computing resources may not be used in ways that violate applicable laws or regulations. Use of the Holy Family University computing resources in a manner that precludes or significantly hampers its use by others is not allowed. Computer abuse includes, but is not limited to, the following:
  • Harassment of individuals, or classes of individuals that would cause distress, embarrassment, discomfort or intimidation based on race, national origin, disability, religious belief, gender, sexual orientation or other types of intimidation.
  • Libeling or slandering of individuals.
  • Using the institution's resources as a conduit to attempt unauthorized access to on or off-campus resources.
  • Destruction of, removal of, or damage to equipment, software, or data belonging to the University or other users.
  • Disruption or unauthorized monitoring of electronic communications.
  • Violation of computer system security.
  • Running a server of any kind.
  • Reconfiguring Holy Family University computing resources or installing software without permission from the VP for Information Technology (e.g. installing software in the labs).
  • Obtaining, possessing, using, or attempting to use someone else's password regardless of how the password was obtained (e.g. password sharing).
  • Use of computer communications facilities in ways that unnecessarily impede the computing activities of others (such as randomly initiating interactive electronic communications or e-mail exchanges, overuse of interactive network utilities, downloading music and video files, and so forth).
  • Academic dishonesty (plagiarism, cheating, et al).
  • Violation of software license agreements.
  • Violation of another user's privacy.
  • Displaying, sending or creating links to offensive, tasteless, or sexually explicit materials and images.
  • Vulgar, abusive or offensive language.
  • Sending forged messages under someone else's NetID (e.g. sending hoax messages, even if intended to be a joke).
  • Using university resources for unauthorized purposes (e.g. using personal computers connected to the campus network to set up web servers for illegal, commercial or profit-making purposes).
  • Sending mass emailings to "Everyone" for purposes unrelated to the University's educational goals.
  • Unauthorized access to other users' accounts, data or files, system software, university data, or other computer systems even if they are not securely protected (e.g. breaking into a system by taking advantage of security holes, or defacing someone else's web page).
  • Downloading or posting to University computers, or transport across the University network, material that is illegal, proprietary, offensive, in violation of University contractual agreements, or otherwise is damaging to the institution.

Connections which create routing patterns that are inconsistent with the effective and shared use of the network may not be established.

Use of the network for games is prohibited. Such use places a heavy load on scarce resources and limits other user's access time for accomplishing work requirements.

The user has responsibility for maintaining the security of information stored on the Holy Family University network and policies governing the network as well as personal data.


  • Falsification of information by a user applying for computing resources access is a punishable disciplinary offense.
  • Users are prohibited from sharing their personal computer accounts, passwords and other types of authorization with others.
  • The user should assign a secure password and change it frequently.
  • Creating viruses or other destructive computer programs is prohibited.
  • The user should be aware of computer viruses and other destructive computer programs, and take steps to avoid being a victim or distributor of these processes.
  • Ultimate responsibility for resolution of problems related to the invasion of the user's privacy or loss of data rests with the user. Peer-to-Peer File Sharing

Holy Family University does not allow peer-to-peer file sharing. Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material via peer-to-peer file sharing may subject violators to civil and criminal liabilities. If you are discovered to have set up peer-to-peer file sharing, your network account may be turned off.

Computer abuse includes

  • Unauthorized copying, downloading or sharing copyright-protected material.
  • Using Peer-to-Peer software to steal copyrighted content such as movies, music, software and images. Policy for Mass Emails to Students

This policy reflects Holy Family University's decision to use a University assigned student email account as the official means of communication with all students. The purpose of this policy is to provide a definition for mass email; to indicate what kind of mass emails are not permitted; and offer guidelines for sending mass emails. The intent of this policy is to prevent the abuse of the Holy Family University email system from mass emails unrelated to university business and to encourage the use of the university email system for distribution and reading of official and important notices. The too frequent appearance of internal SPAM will diminish the system's effectiveness, especially among students.

What is a mass email? 
Mass emails are defined as unsolicited internal mailings to large groups of faculty, staff, and/or students.

Mass Email Policy 
No one may send internal mass emails on the Holy Family University email system for personal purposes or gain; it is provided only as a medium of expression for academic programs and university operations.

Specifically, mass emails should not be used for:

Mailings not related to University business or activities. 
Mailings in violation of the Holy Family University's Electronic Communications Acceptable Use Policy. 
Political statements, expression of personal opinion, conduct of personal business, unauthorized fundraising or solicitation (solicitation is defined as any verbal or written effort to raise funds through the sale of merchandise/services or through charitable donations as well as to influence opinions or to gain support for an issue or cause). 
Notices of houses or other items for sale or rent, requests for rides, lost and found, or commercial promotions. 
Notices of routine, regularly scheduled events. These sorts of events should be communicated through regular University communications. 
Students requesting use of the mass email system must seek approval from the Vice President for Student Services.

Guidelines for Mass Emails 
Mass email messages would contain university business such as:

  • Announcements of campus sponsored events
  • Announcements of official policies or changes in policy
  • Announcements of disruptions or changes in services (i.e., upgrades to campus network, etc.)
  • Announcements from the governance groups (Faculty Senate, Student Government and various campus committees)
  • All mass email messages will contain the following:

Subject line with clearly stated subject 
Recognizable prefix in subject that identifies it as University mass email (HF:) 
From: line that contains email address of sender 
To: line that includes University group to which the mass email was sent 
Signature information that gives name and department of sender 
Mass email messages cannot contain attachments. Instead, a link to an appropriate web page that includes the detailed information could be provided by the sender. Links can be created by the Web Master, prior to submission. Editing of the content is the responsibility of the sender.

This document created with contributions from the mass email policies of the University of North Dakota, and The University of Oklahoma IT Department. Confidentiality

Holy Family University cannot guarantee the confidentiality or privacy of electronic mail messages and other documents stored on University computers, and the University makes no promises regarding their security. Such messages should be written with this in mind. In general, Holy Family University will treat information stored on the Holy Family University computing resources as confidential whether or not that information is protected by the computer operating system, but it should be assumed that the email system is not adequately secure and is not to be relied upon to protect data that is considered highly sensitive, confidential, or personal.

With reasonable cause for suspicion, requests for disclosure to monitor any and all aspects of a system, including individual login sessions to determine if a user is acting in violation of the policies set forth in this document or as stated by law, will be approved by the VP for Information Technology. Viewing of information in the course of normal system maintenance is not a breach of confidentiality.

The following guidelines relate to confidentiality:

  • Holy Family University reserves the right to conduct routine maintenance, track problems, and maintain the integrity of its systems. As is the case with all data kept on Holy Family University computer systems, the content of electronic mail may be revealed by such activities.
  • Holy Family University does not routinely monitor the contents of email. However, such monitoring may be conducted when required to protect the integrity of the systems or to comply with legal obligations.
  • Holy Family University reserves the right to inspect the contents of electronic mail and all disk files in the course of an investigation into alleged impropriety or as necessary to locate substantive information not readily available by other means.
  • Authorization to investigate the contents of user files must be given by the VP for Information Technology on the basis of instructions from the University administration. Remedial Actions

Violators of the Holy Family University Acceptable Use policy will be subject to the disciplinary procedures as outlined in Volume II of the Holy Family University Policy Manual. Each incident will be dealt with in a serious and appropriate manner. The VP for Information Technology has the right to suspend computer privileges during an investigation.

All users of the Holy Family University computing resources are responsible for respecting and adhering to local, state, federal and international laws as well as the laws governing and other information providers. Any attempt to break those laws through use of the Holy Family University computing resources may result in action against the offender by the proper authorities. If such an event should occur, Holy Family University will fully comply with the authorities to provide any information necessary for investigation and compliance. Disclaimer

As part of the services available through the Holy Family University computing resources, users will have access to a large number of conferences, lists, bulletin boards, and information servers. Some of these may contain objectionable material.

Holy Family University assumes no responsibility for the content of those entities over which it has no control. Please be aware of the potentially offensive material found in those archives. The University neither assumes responsibility for, nor endorses, any of the content found therein.

A documented effort has been made to provide accurate information. However, errors can occur. By using the information contained in the electronic communications systems, the user/viewer willingly assumes all risks in connection with such use. Holy Family University is not responsible for any errors or omissions in information contained in the electronic systems and is not liable in whole or in part for damages resulting from any user(s)/viewer(s) use of, or reliance upon, this material. Holy Family University assumes no liability for damages that may result from loss of data resulting from delays, non-deliveries, mis-deliveries, service interruptions or technical difficulties.

It is the user's responsibility to be aware of the potential for and possible effects of manipulating information, especially in electronic form, to understand the changeable nature of electronically stored information, and to verity the integrity and completeness of information that is compiled or used. The user should not assume that information or communications are correct when it appears contrary to expectations; it should be verified with the person who originated the message or data.

Direct questions and report problems to Holy Family University Information Technology located in HFH 23, and available at extension 267-341-3491 or by email at helpdesk@holyfamily.edu.