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Computer Usage Policy

Approved by the Board of Trustees of Rockland Community College on January 5, 2006. Amended on April 23, 2009.

A. Purpose

Rockland Community College owns and operates a variety of computing systems that are provided for the use of RCC students, faculty, and staff in support of the programs of the College and are to be used for education, research, academic development, and public service only. Commercial uses are specifically excluded. Special permission users are to observe these guidelines and are not to interfere with the needs of RCC faculty, students, and staff. All users are responsible for using the computing facilities and machines in an effective, efficient, ethical and lawful manner.

This document establishes rules and prohibitions that define acceptable use of these systems. Unacceptable use is prohibited, and is grounds for discipline or legal sanctions under Federal, State, local laws and college regulations.

The College reserves the right to amend this policy at any time without notice.


B. Audience and Agreement

All users must read, understand, and comply with the guidelines established by the administrators of the systems (computer labs, computer classrooms, Administrative/Academic systems and Library systems). BY USING ANY OF THESE SYSTEMS, USERS AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ, UNDERSTAND, AND WILL COMPLY WITH THESE GUIDELINES.

Student Access:

Students are only allowed to use computers in designated labs. Students may not load or delete programs on any college computer under any circumstances.


C. Rights

RCC reserves all rights, including termination of service without notice, to the computing resources to which it provides access. These procedures shall not be construed as a waiver of any rights of RCC, nor shall they conflict with applicable acts of law. Users have rights that may be protected by Federal, State, local laws and college regulations.


D. Privileges

Access and privileges on RCC computing systems are assigned and managed by the administrators of specific individual systems. Eligible individuals may become authorized users of a system and be granted appropriate access and privileges by following the approval steps prescribed for that system.


E. Responsibilities

Users are responsible for maintaining the following:

  1. An environment in which access to all RCC computing resources are shared equitably among users: The system administrator sets minimum guidelines within which users must conduct their activities.
  2. An environment conducive to working or learning: A user, who uses the College's computing systems to harass, or make defamatory remarks, shall bear full responsibility for his or her actions. Further, by using these systems users agree that RCC’s role in managing these systems is only as an information carrier, and that they will never consider transmission through these systems as an endorsement of said transmission by RCC. When accessing the Internet, users are advised that they may encounter material that may be considered offensive or objectionable in nature or content. Users are further advised that RCC does not assume responsibility for the contents of any of these outside networks. The user agrees to comply with the acceptable use guidelines for whichever outside networks or services they may access through RCC systems. Further, the user agrees to follow proper etiquette on outside networks. The user agrees never to attempt to transmit, or cause to be transmitted, any message in which the origination is deliberately misleading. The user agrees that, in the unlikely event that someone does transmit, or cause to be transmitted, any message that is inconsistent with an environment conducive to working or learning or with a misleading origination, the person who performed the transmission will be solely accountable for the message, not RCC, which is acting solely as the information carrier.
  3. An environment free of illegal or malicious acts: The user agrees never to use a system to perform an illegal or malicious act. Any attempt to increase the level of access to which (s)he is authorized, or any attempt to deprive other authorized users of resources or access to any RCC computer system shall be regarded as malicious and may be treated as an illegal act.
  4. A secure environment: Any user who finds a possible security lapse on any system is obliged to report to the system administrator and/or the IT office immediately. Knowledge of passwords or of loopholes in computer security systems shall not be used to damage computing resources, obtain extra resources, take resources from another user, gain unauthorized access to resources or otherwise make use of computing resources for which proper authorization has not been given. All users shall take proper precautions to keep their system and account passwords secure. Users shall not leave passwords written or displayed where an unauthorized user can view them. Users shall not give their passwords to other users, and will be held responsible for that user's actions if they do. All users shall not leave their computer unsupervised while they are accessing any application, data or system of a secure nature, without taking proper measures to secure their computer from unauthorized access during their absence.

    Any users with access to the college administrative network and applications are reminded that they are responsible for maintaining the integrity of the databases to which they have access, and shall take every security measure necessary to insure that database integrity is maintained. The IT office provides limited use, captive accounts for employee access to the administrative network and applications. These accounts have high security measures implemented, and are recommended for users who do not require full access to the administrative data base.

    As a security measure, students are not to use any computer designated for employee usage, including those computers located in employee offices. This includes student employees.

  5. Where passwords are required, they should be changed often to protect users and their data. The following recommendations are provided for selecting passwords:
    • Pick passwords which are difficult for someone to guess.
    • Avoid words which might appear in the dictionary.
    • Select passwords which have embedded numbers or punctuation, or consist of multiple words.
    • Do not write your password where it might be found by an unauthorized user.
  6. Healthy computer system and environment: 
    Employees, whenever possible, are to perform routine cleaning tasks on the computers in their care, such as cleaning disk drives, keyboards and monitors. 

    Employees are required to contact the IT office to request any computer software or hardware upgrades, and all upgrades will be performed by the IT office, by a college employee designated by the IT office, or at the request of the IT office, by an outside service vendor. The IT office may classify some computers on campus as highly integral, due either to the function that computer performs, or to specialized software installed on that computer. Employees use of any computer designated as such are prohibited from making ANY changes to their system, including even the most minor changes, such as changing screen colors, screen savers or background images, without consent from the IT office. Employees are not to use any software or hardware to perform system diagnoses. Employees are not to prevent the IT office from performing any duty listed herein, and are not to refuse or deny the IT office access to their systems to perform any duty listed herein.

    Users are not to perform any action on their computer system that results in the removal of the central unit cover and/or the exposure of the internal components. Users are not to use system maintenance/protection programs except for the default media scanning software provided by their computer operating system or an anti-virus software application approved for use by the IT office. Users are not to install or reinstall software applications, upgrades, or operating systems with the exception of periodic upgrades to anti-virus software definitions to employee computers. All diagnoses of and repairs to damaged computers will be performed by the IT office, by a college employee designated by the IT office, or at the request of the IT office, by an outside service vendor. Students or student employees are NOT authorized to perform any action listed herein.


F. Inappropriate Usage

Users must be sensitive to the public nature of shared facilities. Behavior reflects both upon the individual and the College. Computing and networking resources should be used only in accordance with this policy. Any intentional behavior with respect to the electronic environment that interferes with the missions or activities of the College community will be regarded as unethical, and may lead to disciplinary action under standard College rules for misconduct and existing judicial, disciplinary or personnel processes. Examples of inappropriate and unacceptable use of the computer system include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Creating, displaying, printing, downloading or transmitting information which violates the College's sexual harassment policy. This includes, but is not limited to, displaying sexually explicit, graphically disturbing, or sexually harassing images or text.
  2. Playing games. This includes, but is not limited to, PC based games, Internet games, MUDs or any other type of interactive Internet game playing site.
  3. Chat rooms. The resources are not available for users to socialize. This includes, but is not limited to, any World Wide Web site designed as a chat room or any IRC site. Exceptions to this include college sponsored chat events.
  4. Knowingly or carelessly running or installing on any computer system or network, or giving to another user, a program intended to damage or to place excessive load on a computer system or network or to deprive authorized personnel of resources or access to any college computer system. This includes, but is not limited to, programs known as computer viruses, Trojan Horses, and worms.
  5. Using a user-id or account belonging to another individual, or allowing your account to be used by another individual.
  6. Attempting to access data being transferred through the network or files on any computer connected to the network without the owner's permission.
  7. Installing, changing, or removing of software on any computer system. This includes but is not limited to, changing system defaults, customizing settings to your own preferences, deleting files from the system not belonging to you, and storing data files on any location other than a floppy disk or space on the computer granted to you by the system administrator.
  8. Deliberately wasting/overloading computer resources. This includes but is not limited to, printing out multiple copies of a document or printing out large documents that may be available on-line and that might impact significantly on other users' printing resources. Conserve resources by avoiding unnecessary file transfers. Large file transfers should be undertaken during non-peak hours (8 pm - 8 am on weekdays, and any time on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays.)
  9. Use of E-mail or messaging services to harass, intimidate, or otherwise annoy another person, for example, by broadcasting unsolicited messages or sending mail that is known to be unwanted. This also applies to material originating from this campus but sent to other sites or persons on the Internet. Chain letters, mass mailings (SPAM), and advertisements fall into this category and are unacceptable uses of the computer system.
  10. Use of computing facilities for financial gain or commercial purposes.
  11. Violation of software copyrights and usage licensing agreements.
  12. Violation of usage policies and regulations of the networks of which the College is a member or has authority to use.
  13. Academic dishonesty (for example, plagiarism or cheating).
  14. Using On-line music sharing services such as Napster, or using streaming audio/video applications such as RealPlayer, for non-academic purposes. The constant flow of network traffic ties up the network bandwidth line. See item (h) above.
  15. Using any "instant messaging" utility such as AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ or Yahoo Pager. The college provides e-mail services to its employees. Employees and students are allowed to access outside personal e-mail accounts as long as it is done in a manner that is consistent with this policy.
  16. Use of any non-college or personal computer equipment, standalone or laptop computers in conjunction with college computer equipment is not recommended or supported. Personal laptop computer use is restricted to Public LAN access or standalone use, as the IT office prohibits the connection of personal laptop computers to the college network or any peripheral network device therein. No user is to substitute or install any internal or peripheral computer component owned by the college into a non-college owned computer and also will not substitute or install any non-college owned internal or peripheral computer component into a college-owned computer. The IT office will not support equipment that is not owned by the college unless with special arrangement for use of a specific piece of equipment for a specific amount of time that is pre-approved by IT and the department supervisor.


G. Public LAN Access

Students and public visitors may use non-college laptop computers on the Public LAN wireless access in designated areas of the college. Wireless network connections are specifically labeled as Public access. No one may connect a non-college owned device into any network jack. Service and security on the Public LAN is not guaranteed and is intended as "use at your own risk". It is recommended that users have anti-virus software installed on their laptops with the latest anti-virus definitions along with any critical operating system patches or updates before they access the Public LAN. Infected laptops or those laptops that are found to inhibit network traffic will be removed from the network until the laptop is free from infection or malfunction. Rockland Community College will accept no responsibility for any damage to personal software or hardware while using the Public LAN. Use of the Public LAN implies acceptance and adherence to the same rights, privileges and responsibilities for acceptable use outlined in this policy. RCC reserves the right to monitor and record the activity of all users on the network.


H. Violations

An individual's computer use privileges may be suspended immediately upon the discovery of a possible violation of these policies.

Such suspected violations by students will be reported to the appropriate system administrator and to the Dean of Student Development under the Rockland Community College Code of Conduct.

Such suspected violations by employees will be reported to the IT office and to the immediate supervisor of the suspected violator.

Violations of these policies will be dealt with in the same manner as violations of other College policies and may result in disciplinary review. In such a review, the full range of disciplinary sanctions is available including the loss of computer use privileges, dismissal from the college, and legal action. Violations of some of the above policies may constitute a criminal offense.

Effective 2/28/09