Responsible Use of Information Resources and Technology

Fresno Pacific University provides computer resources (including hardware, software and access to networks and databases) to support the educational mission of the university. Our use of these resources is to be guided by Christian principles of wise stewardship and responsible use.

I. Responsibility to Others

1. Respect for one another's need for access

Students, faculty and staff who are involved in educational, research or administrative activities have the highest priority in the use of technology and information resources. While use of information resources for other purposes may be acceptable, such use should never interfere with educational or research activities. Practices that are in conflict with this policy include, but are not limited to, the following examples:

  • Use of computer lab equipment for recreational purposes in a way that prevents others from using it for educational, research or administrative tasks.
  • Loud or disruptive behavior in computer labs that prevents others from performing educational, research or administrative tasks.
  • Deliberately degrading the performance of the network or computer system. Specific examples include email chain letters or junk mail, flooding the network and the intentional spread of viruses.

2. Respect for one another's values and feelings

Fresno Pacific University upholds the principle of treating all people with profound respect. University computing resources may not be used to intimidate or harass other people. Practices that are in conflict with this policy include, but are not limited to, the following examples:

  • Sending fraudulent, threatening or obscene email or email attachments meant to harass or intimidate.
  • Displaying obscene or otherwise offensive written, aural or graphic material on one's computer in a manner likely to be seen by other people.

3. Respect for Another's Property

Theft, misuse or unauthorized use of either tangible or intellectual property will not be tolerated. All users are required to abide by the following guidelines:

  • Making unauthorized copies of copyrighted software is prohibited. Such theft is punishable under state and federal law and can affect both the user and the university.
  • No one may access network resources (email accounts, personal directories, etc.) of another user without their express permission, except as described in section II.3.
  • No one may use, edit, adapt, sample or copy another member of the community's intellectual property without their consent. Intellectual property includes any words, images or other expressions of a person's ideas. It may include, but is not limited to, written papers in electronic format, computer-based presentations or electronic tests prepared for university courses. While use of such material with another person's permission may be acceptable, such use in academic settings should not violate university rules against plagiarism.
  • Users should avoid excessive or unnecessary printing of documents. Over-use of paper in university offices and labs represents both a waste of the university's monetary resources and a waste of natural resources. Editing of documents should, as much as possible, be done on-screen. Avoid printing a new copy for every small change made to a document.

II. Responsibility to Self

1. Balancing work/study time with computer use

Faculty, staff, and students are given access to computer resources for specific purposes. Personal use of the Internet and email by students, faculty and staff is allowed but should not interfere with productivity. Activities that might interfere with productivity include online games, chat room entertainment, Web sites pertaining to news and weather, fashion and glamour, hobbies, sports, investments and shopping. Students, faculty and staff should exercise good judgment regarding personal use of technology and ensure that non-work/study related activities do not interfere with the pursuit of educational/work goals and responsibilities.

2. Use of inappropriate materials

Fresno Pacific University is a community of learners. The university seeks to provide settings in which individuals can learn as a result of the interaction between persons, ideas and experience. Learning and interaction remain key components to the educational mission of Fresno Pacific.

The educational mission of the community and the self may be subverted when inappropriate behaviors manifest themselves. The use of electronic technology may be used as a tool for interaction with persons, ideas and experience in both positive and negative ways. Thus, one must take responsibility in determining the nature of sites accessed and messages sent. The following types of Internet sites, among others, may be problematic when accessed repeatedly:

  • Sites containing sexually explicit content.
  • Sites containing depictions or descriptions of violence or hate speech.
  • Sites promoting the inappropriate use of illegal drugs, alcohol or tobacco.
  • Sites promoting gambling.

Individuals should consider the purpose for which they enter sites such as these and the potential harm the information in these sites could have on them.

3. Understanding the limits of privacy

The university acknowledges that users have a right to expect that the privacy of their data and their use of the system will not be violated. Although the university does not monitor computer files, email and Internet use, normal maintenance of the campus network or individual computers may reveal information about the nature of an individual's computer and network usage to information services staff. All logins, requests for web pages, and commands executed by users are recorded in log files that are maintained by information services. In order to preserve the integrity of its resources against accidents, failures, improper use or other disruption, the university reserves the right to inspect or remove any data, file or system resource as it deems necessary. In so doing, information services has an obligation to preserve the confidentiality of any user data to which their legitimate responsibilities give them access. However, in cases where there is clear evidence of violation of laws, contracts or license agreements, information services will report this information to the provost. The same actions will be followed if information services, during normal maintenance procedures, discovers a pattern of repeated violation of the community standards set out in this policy. Existing policies will assist the provost in determining appropriate action in such cases.

Electronic mail is a convenient means of communication. Because of the nature of such electronic communication, it is not possible to guarantee the privacy of email. Such messages are not erased from the system when deleted but are retained for a certain, designated period of time to serve as backup protection against inadvertent deletion. Furthermore, courts have ruled that Internet providers must disclose the identity and content of email messages when it is determined necessary to investigate the inappropriate use of the system. Therefore, despite reasonable attempts to maintain the privacy of use on university-provided technology, data that is stored, sent, received or accessed using university-provided technology should not be considered completely private or confidential. Highly confidential materials should be delivered or stored in another manner.

The university makes no warranty, express or implied, regarding its information resources, their continued availability, privacy or their fitness for any particular purpose.

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Use of technology resources at Fresno Pacific University is a privilege, not a right. Violation of any of the above guidelines may subject the violator to disciplinary action, rendered by the appropriate authority, according to existing university policies. Such action could include any of the following: warning, loss or restriction of technology privileges, suspension or legal prosecution. This document is a baseline policy applying to all users of FPU technology resources. It does not preclude additional provisions being applied where appropriate within various segments of the university.

Approved by Faculty Session, November 16, 1999.