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Acceptable Use of Computer Resources

Smith College provides information technology resources to students, faculty and staff for academic purposes and for their use while engaged in college business. These resources may include authenticated access to college electronic services; access to college-owned computers and electronic devices such as PDAs, cell phones, and digital cameras; network file storage; electronic mail (e-mail); voice mail; and space for web pages. The college has established standards and policies for the acceptable use of these resources and expects users to be familiar with and honor them.

In addition, members of the Smith College community may have access to third-party electronic resources through their affiliation with the college, including the resources of the other institutions of Five Colleges, Inc. (Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst). Use of these resources by members of the Smith College community is governed by this Acceptable Use Policy and any applicable policy or restriction of the third-party provider.

The college's computer systems, data networks, and information technology services may only be used for lawful purposes and in a manner consistent with college policies. Actions normally prohibited by law and/or this Acceptable Use Policy include but are not limited to:

  • Sharing your account or password with anyone.

  • Unauthorized access or disclosure of confidential information or invasion of personal privacy.

  • Infringing upon the rights of other Smith and Internet users, attempting to gain access to other users' accounts, private files, or e-mail, or harassing other users in any way.

  • Use of Smith's computer resources to engage in any illegal activity.

  • Copying software, documents or other intellectual property in violation of state and federal laws.

  • Downloading, or making available for download to others, audio and video files without the permission of the copyright owner.

  • Use of copyrighted audio, video, images, text, or software without permission of the copyright owner.

  • Use of audio, pictures, videos, movies, or likenesses of people without their written consent.

  • Use of computer resources in such a manner that might cause congestion of the network or that incapacitates, compromises, or damages college resources.

  • Creating or forwarding "chain letters" or other "pyramid schemes" of any type.

  • Sending or forwarding "junk mail" to individuals who did not specifically request such material ("spam").

  • Unauthorized use or forging of e-mail header information.

  • Capturing or "sniffing" Smith network traffic content without prior consent of Information Technology Services.

  • Implementation of network services or devices, such as DHCP services or wireless access points, that conflict with authorized college services.

  • Use of computer resources for the purpose of commercial or profit-making activities not relevant to the mission of the college.

  • Fundraising and advertising by groups or individuals other than officially recognized campus organizations.

  • Capturing or storing sensitive data such as credit card and social security numbers on college servers without prior consent of Information Technology Services.

  • Use of the college's name and logos in ways that suggest or imply the endorsement of other organizations, their products, or services.

  • Smith College does not approve of the use of images or text that are abusive, profane, or obscene in e-mail or on web pages.

The college reserves the right to access the contents of users’ files on College resources such as PC disk drives, network drives, e-mail, voicemail and other electronic storage media, to disclose the contents when it has a legitimate work-related need to do so, and to preserve the contents in response to litigation, potential legal claims, subpoenas, or other investigations. The College also reserves the right to disclose the contents to law enforcement officials.

The chief information officer of information technology services with appropriate consultation must review and approve in advance any request for access to the contents of electronic files without the consent of the user.

Students, faculty and staff who use their personal computer, PDA, cell phone, portable memory media, or other electronic device for college-related business may be required to provide access to intact business-related information and possibly the devices themselves when the college has a legally-required reason.

The college reserves the right to access the contents of students' electronic files during the course of an investigation and to disclose the contents during student judicial proceedings.

Violations of college policies are adjudicated according to procedures outlined in the Student Handbook and the Staff Handbook, and may result in the removal of computer access privileges and/or more serious sanctions. Some offenses are punishable under state and federal laws. A repeat copyright violation will result in the immediate removal of computer access privileges.

For more information on related college policies and sanctions, please refer to the college's:

For more information on the acceptable use policies of the other members of Five Colleges, please refer to:

Questions regarding this Acceptable Use Policy should be directed to the executive director of information technology services.

Approved by ITCC, February 12, 2008


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