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RSCC Policy GA-18-01; Ethical and Responsible Use of Computer Resources

Roane State Community College
Policy Number: GA-18-01
Subject: Ethical and Responsible Use of Computer Resources
  1. Scope
    1. The policies and procedures outlined in the following document apply to all Roane State Community College (RSCC) faculty, staff, students, visitors and contractors. This policy applies to all academic, administrative, networking and computer resources leased or installed at all RSCC locations.
    2. In addition to the policies listed below, all users are subject to existing state and federal laws and regulations concerning the use of computers, email and the Internet.
  2. Definitions
    1. Computer resources or Information Technology or instructional resources include computers and computer time, data processing, storage systems, computer systems, desktop and laptop computers, printers, servers, networks, and any other peripheral device owned by RSCC. Also included are computer programs, operating systems or other software and documentation.
    2. Defamation is a civil tort which occurs when one, without privilege, publishes a false and defamatory statement which damages the reputation of another.
    3. Portable Mass Storage Device is defined as any device which is capable of transporting digital files outside the internal storage device of a Roane State computer or network. They include such devices as floppy disks, CD/DVD’s, flash drives, zip drives or external hard drives.
    4. Encryption is the process of transforming information (referred to as plain text) using an algorithm (called cipher) to make it unreadable to anyone except those possessing special knowledge, usually referred to as a key. The result of the process is encrypted information (in cryptography, referred to as cipher text). In many contexts, the word encryption also implicitly refers to the reverse process, decryption (e.g. "software for encryption" can typically also perform decryption), to make the encrypted information readable again (i.e. to make it unencrypted).
    5. Personal or private for-profit use shall mean a use of Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) information technology resources which has as a primary objective financial gain of the user. Activities by a student which are typical of the student job search process (e.g. use of campus e-mail to contact potential employers or posting of one’s resume on the institution’s website) are not to be considered personal or private for-profit uses.
  3. Compliance with TBR Policies
    To the extent a discrepancy exists between this policy and related TBR or state policy or law, TBR and state policy shall take precedence.
  4. Policy
    1. The purpose of this policy is to define responsible and ethical behavior of RSCC users in order to preserve the availability and integrity of RSCC computing and technology resources. All files, records, and email stored on RSCC computers and storage devices are the property of Roane State, the Tennessee Board of Regents and the State of Tennessee. This policy allows for the support of investigations of complaints under existing policies pertaining to harassment, honor code, and state and federal laws on privacy and computer abuse.
    2. A copy of this policy will be displayed on the Roane State Community College website.
  5. Priorities for Use of Computer Resources
    1. Highest: Educational and administrative use.
    2. Medium: Other uses directly and indirectly related to educational use, including access to the Internet and professional and personal communication.
    3. Lowest: Recreational and entertainment use.
  6. Rules of Use
    1. Computer facilities at RSCC are available to all students, faculty, and staff. It is the responsibility of the Information Technology Division personnel to maintain a stable operational environment for all users and to provide security for all programs and files currently residing on available computer systems. Cooperation of all users in the form of ethical and responsible behavior is required at all times so that all may share resources freely and equitably.
    2. User Responsibility - The following college rules and regulations are to define all users' limitations. These rules are separate and apart from the code of conduct as approved by the TBR. Any violations shall be termed "computer misuse," and the offender shall be referred to the appropriate college supervisor, or in the case of students, to the Dean of Students.
      1. Users shall obtain proper authorization from Information Technology or designee before using RSCC computer resources. Administrative Systems computer accounts and job numbers may not be used by anyone other than the applicant(s) and for any purpose other than that agreed upon with the director of Administrative Systems.
      2. An individual may not access, copy or transmit the programs or data belonging to other individuals or to RSCC without permission unless required for the performance of that person’s duties at Roane State.
      3. A user may not attempt to learn the password of any other user and may not attempt to alter or destroy the files belonging to others.
      4. Programs and data files stored at RSCC may not be taken to other sites without authorization from the Assistant Vice President of Information Technology unless required for the performance of that person’s duties at Roane State.
      5. An individual may not tamper with or change any switch settings or software settings on any devices located in RSCC computer labs without approval from an instructor or Networking, Telecommunications and Technical Support staff.
      6. A user may not monopolize computer resources to the extent of denying others fair use. Any non-productive use of the computer should not impede the use of terminals or computers by others who have need for more valid use such as class assignments.
      7. A user may not store games or game-related programs in any account or on any Roane State Community College computer.
      8. A user may not allow anyone to use his or her account or use the account of another. Your username and password identifies you to the entire RSCC network, if another person uses your account, with or without your permission, they will be acting in your name. You may be held responsible for that person's actions should they violate policies or the law. If someone offers you the use of an account you are not authorized to use, decline. If you discover someone's password, please report it to the owner or to the Help Desk. This applies to administrative systems, networking and email accounts. Once compromised, password should be changed immediately. Extenuating circumstances (e.g. access required due to need for immediate need for the information contained on absent employee’s computer) may require administration to grant access to an employee’s account. This should only be done after approval is received by the Assistant Vice President for Information Technology and the applicable vice president. This access should be temporary and extreme caution should be taken to ensure internal controls are maintained during this period of access.
      9. A user may not create programs or use electronic devices that collect information about users on the network.
      10. A user may not use RSCC computers or systems to attack computers, networks or the Internet by launching viruses, worms, Trojan horses, mail bombs or other forms of attacks. Additionally, users may not attempt to access restricted portions of the operating system on the administrative system (Banner), file servers, routers, switches security software, unless express permission from Information Technology is granted.
      11. While the college recognizes and supports the constitutional right to freedom of speech, college computing resources, including the Internet cannot be used to intimidate or create an atmosphere of discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, age (as applicable), status as a covered veteran, genetic information, and any other category protected by federal or state civil rights law related to RSCC. Fraudulent, threatening or obscene email or graphical displays used to intimidate or harass are prohibited.
      12. A user must abide by applicable copyright laws and licenses. College policies and state and federal law forbid the copying of software that has not been placed in the public domain and distributed as "freeware". Shareware users are expected to abide by the requirements of the shareware agreement. Shareware and freeware may be downloaded for evaluation by faculty and staff but must be removed at the end of the evaluation period if not purchased. Students may download shareware and freeware and copy to a removable storage medium.
      13. File Sharing – Users may not use RSCC networks or computers to download copyrighted music or video files from peer-to-peer networks. The Supreme Court has ruled that such copyright infringements are illegal and violate the rights of the music industry. Users may download legally purchased copies of music for storage on removable storage devices. Faculty and staff may store legal copies of music on Roane State computers as long as such storage does not interfere with the business use of the computer.
      14. Users shall not use RSCC computer resources for any private or personal for-profit activities.
      15. Except for those not-for-profit business activities which are directly related to an employee’s job responsibilities or which are related to an organization which is affiliated with the institution, a user shall not use RSCC computer resources for any not-for-profit business unless authorized by the president or his/her designee.
      16. Users may not use RSCC computer resources to defame others.
      17. Gambling performed with the use of RSCC computer resources is prohibited. Gambling over the Internet is prohibited under Tennessee state law (Tennessee Code Annotated 39-17-502).
      18. While Roane State Community College recognizes that its computers are sometimes used for purposes other than fulfilling an employee’s duties, any such use must be incidental and not interfere with the employee’s job duties.
      19. Users shall not use RSCC computer resources for solicitation for religious or political causes.
  7. Access to Potentially Offensive Material
    1. Faculty, staff and students at RSCC are able to access information via electronic means from a wide range of sources including the Internet. Information in the form of text, graphics, images, sounds and video is available for a variety of purposes: teaching, research, and entertainment. However, some of the material may be found offensive by some members of our community. Individuals may be particularly offended if they are exposed to the material unwittingly.
    2. The distribution and display of obscene material is prohibited by the laws of Tennessee. Obscene materials are defined by Tennessee law (Tennessee Code Annotated 39-17-901(10) as those materials which:
      1. The average person applying contemporary community standards would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest.
      2. The average person applying contemporary community standards would find that the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct.
      3. The work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, educational or scientific value.
    3. Information accessible on the network may not be restricted through censorship. Censorship is not compatible with the goals of higher education. Freedom of expression is valued, supported, and protected at RSCC.
    4. Users may not access illegal material. Illegal material, such as child pornography, from any source will not be downloaded, stored or distributed within the Roane State Community College community. Federal law (18 U.S.C. 2252) prohibits the distribution of child pornography across state lines. Reports or complaints regarding access to this material will be referred to legal authorities.
  8. Respect for State Owned Property
    Users shall not intentionally, recklessly or negligently misuse, damage or vandalize RSCC computer resources. If such misuse is suspected, the Assistant Vice President of Information Technology, the Internal Auditor and Security Officer may conduct an investigation to determine the cause and responsibility. If deemed appropriate the student or employee may be required to pay for the repair or replacement of the equipment. (See Disposition of Violations below.)
  9. Additional Responsibilities for Employees and Independent Contractors
    Users who are employees and independent contractors shall not make use of RSCC computer resources for purposes which do not conform to the purposes, goals and mission of RSCC and the user.
  10. Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998
    1. Title II of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 is designed to provide protection for institutions acting as a service provider (public web site) if copyright infringement occurs without its knowledge. If the institution merely acts as a conduit for the copyrighted material it will not be held liable if, (1) it exerts no editorial control, (2) does not originate the transmission or choose the recipient, and (3) does not make the copyrighted material available to others besides the intended recipient. The Act further provides that institutions of higher education are NOT liable for infringing acts by faculty or graduate students IF:
      1. The faculty or graduate student's activities do not involve online access (including email) to materials that were "required or recommended" within the preceding three years for a course taught by the employee at the institution.
      2. The institution has not received more than two notices of actionable infringement by the faculty or graduate student.
      3. The institution provides all users of its system or networks the informational materials on compliance with U.S. copyright laws.
    2. In accordance with the provisions of Title II of the Act, Roane State Community College will designate and register an agent with the Register of Copyright. The name, address, phone number and email address of the agent will be listed publicly on the opening page of the RSCC website.
    3. Upon notification of an infringement in accordance with "Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act", Section 202, Subparagraph (3) "Elements of Notification", RSCC will immediately remove the offending material.

      The owner of the page containing the infringing material will be notified and advised that the material has been removed or disabled. If the user believes that the material has been erroneously identified as infringing the user may submit a counter-notice to the complaining party or authorized representative and a copy to the institution's designated agent. The counter-notice must contain the information outlined in (3) "Contents of Counter Notification" of the Act. It must include the following information:

      1. If no response to the counter-notice is received within fourteen (14) business days, RSCC will immediately restore or cease disabling the material.
      2. The users name, address, telephone number and a statement that the subscriber consents to the jurisdiction of federal district court for the judicial district in which the address is located and that the user will accept service of process from the person who provided notification of infringement.
      3. A statement that the user has a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of a mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled.
      4. Identification of the material that has been removed or to which access has been blocked and the location at which the material appeared before being blocked or removed.
      5. A physical or electronic signature of the user.
  11. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) Security
    1. College portable computers or storage devices will not be used to store or transport personally identifiable information except where those devices are encrypted.
    2. Access the complete detailed RSCC Policy GA-18-08, Data and Personally Identifiable Information Security, at

    3. Roane State contractor or third party vendors may not use the college wireless or wired network to process or transmit credit card data.
  12. Advertising
    1. Use of Roane State information technology resources to promote or advertise activities or entities which are not related to the institution is prohibited, unless such use is consistent with the mission of the institution and results in substantial benefit to the institution.
    2. The president is authorized to determine whether a given use is consistent with the mission of the institution and results in substantial benefit to the institution, consistent with other TBR policies and guidelines (in particular TBR policy, Access to and Use of Campus Property and Facilities.)
    3. Sale of advertising in web-based versions of college affiliated student publications is specifically permitted.
  13. Disposition of Violations
    1. Computer misuse violations should be reported through the appropriate supervisory chain to the Dean of Students, the Assistant Vice President of Information Technology or the Director of Human Resources.
      Dispositions for students can be found in TBR Policy General Regulations on Student Conduct and Disciplinary Sanctions.
      1. The Dean of Students will be responsible for student violations. In the case of threatening or offensive communications the Dean of Students will notify security to ensure student safety.
      2. The Director of Human Resources in conjunction with the president and/or applicable vice president will be responsible for staff and faculty violations.
      3. The Assistant Vice President of Information Technology will assist the Dean of Students or Director of Human Resources in collecting evidence of violations.
    2. Dispositions for students can be found in TBR Policy, General Regulations on Student Conduct and Disciplinary Sanctions.
      Listed below (not an all-inclusive list) are options for employee discipline.
      1. Revoking of the individual's right to use the computer, either on a temporary or permanent basis
      2. Probation
      3. Suspension
      4. Financial assessment for computer resources
      5. Legal prosecution. In the event that other college regulations are violated, additional penalties may be imposed.
      6. Unauthorized use of the computer by an individual other than the college community may be adjudged a felony and the individual may be liable to legal prosecution.
      7. Termination
    3. Student appeals may be directed through the Dean of Students to the president. Employee appeals should be initiated through Human Resources.
  14. Responsible Party
    The Assistant Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer shall be responsible for development and maintenance of this policy for issuance by the president.

Revision History: 07/11/1990, 12/11/1997, 02/18/2000, 08/25/2003, 11/20/2006, 02/09/2009, 05/06/2013, 11/11/2014
TBR Policy Reference:,
Revision Date Effective: 06/06/2017
Revision Approval By: Christopher L. Whaley, President
Original Date Effective: 01/11/1988
Original Approval By: Cuyler A. Dunbar, President
Office Responsible: Vice President for Business & Finance
Reviewed: 06/06/2017

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