Computer Systems Acceptable Use Policy

This policy is designed to guide students, faculty, and staff in the acceptable use of computer and information systems and networks provided by Georgetown University. More importantly, it is meant as an application of the principles of respect and reverence for every person that are at the core of Georgetown's Catholic, Jesuit identity.

1. GUIDING PRINCIPLES

The Georgetown University community is encouraged to make innovative and creative use of information technologies in support of education and research. Access to information representing a multitude of views on current and historical issues should be allowed for the interest, information and enlightenment of the Georgetown University community. Consistent with other University policies, this policy is intended to respect the rights and obligations of academic freedom. The University recognizes that the purpose of copyright is to protect the rights of the creators of intellectual property and to prevent the unauthorized use or sale of works available in the private sector. Also consistent with other University policies, an individual's right of access to computer materials should not be denied or abridged because of race, creed, color, age, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

The University cannot protect individuals against the existence or receipt of material that may be offensive to them. As such, those who make use of electronic communications are warned that they may come across or be recipients of material they find offensive. Those who use e-mail and/or make information about themselves available on the Internet should be forewarned that the University cannot protect them from invasions of privacy and other possible dangers that could result from the individual's distribution of personal information.

Georgetown University computing and network resources are to be used only for University-related research, instruction, learning, enrichment, dissemination of scholarly information, and administrative activities. The computing and network facilities of the University are limited and should be used wisely and carefully with consideration for the needs of others. Computers and network systems offer powerful tools for communications among members of the community and of communities outside the University. When used appropriately, these tools can enhance dialog and communications. When used unlawfully or inappropriately, however, these tools can infringe on the beliefs or rights of others.

2. RESPONSIBILITIES

The following examples, though not covering every situation, specify some of the responsibilities that accompany computer use at Georgetown and/or on networks to which Georgetown is connected.

  1. Users may not attempt to modify the University system or network facilities or attempt to crash systems. They should not tamper with any software protections or restrictions placed on computer applications or files.

  2. Users may use only their own computer accounts. Users may not supply false or misleading data nor improperly obtain another's password in order to gain access to computers or network systems, data or information. The negligence or naivete of another user in revealing an account name or password is not considered authorized use. Convenience of file or printer sharing is not sufficient reason for sharing a computer account. Users should not attempt to subvert the restrictions associated with their computer accounts.

  3. Users are responsible for all use of their computer account(s). They should make appropriate use of the system and network-provided protection features and take precautions against others obtaining access to their computer resources. Individual password security is the responsibility of each user.

  4. Users may not encroach on others' use of computer resources. Such activities would include, but are not limited to, tying up computer resources for excessive game playing or other trivial applications; sending harassing messages; sending frivolous or excessive messages, including chain letters, junk mail, and other types of broadcast messages, either locally or over the Internet; using excessive amounts of storage; intentionally introducing any computer viruses, worms, Trojan Horses, or other rogue programs to Georgetown University hardware or software; physically damaging systems; or running grossly inefficient programs when efficient ones are available.

  5. Users are responsible for making use of software and electronic materials in accordance with copyright and licensing restrictions and applicable university policies. Georgetown University equipment and software may not be used to violate copyright or the terms of any license agreement. No one may inspect, modify, distribute, or copy proprietary data, directories, programs, files, disks or other software without proper authorization.

  6. Users must remember that information distributed through the University's computing and networking facilities is a form of publishing, and some of the same standards apply. For example, anything generated at GU that is available on the Internet represents GU and not just an individual. Even with disclaimers, the University is represented by its students, faculty and staff, and appropriate language, behavior and style is warranted.

3. ADMINISTRATION AND IMPLEMENTATION

The University encourages all members of its community to use electronic communications in a manner that is respectful to others. While respecting users' confidentiality and privacy, the University reserves the right to examine all computer files. The University takes this step to enforce its policies regarding harassment and the safety of individuals; to prevent the posting of proprietary software or electronic copies of electronic texts or images in disregard of copyright restrictions or contractual obligations; to safeguard the integrity of computers, networks, and data either at the University or elsewhere; and to protect the University against seriously damaging consequences. The University may restrict the use of its computers and network systems for electronic communications when faced with evidence of violation of University policies, or federal or local laws. The University reserves the right to limit access to its networks through University-owned or other computers, and to remove or limit access to material posted on University-owned computers.

All users are expected to conduct themselves consistent with these responsibilities and all other applicable University policies. Abuse of computing privileges will subject the user to disciplinary action, as established by the applicable operating policies and procedures of the University. Abuse of networks or computers at other sites through the use of Georgetown University resources will be treated as an abuse of computing privileges at the University. When appropriate, temporary restrictive actions will be taken by system or network administrators pending further disciplinary action; the loss of computing privileges may result.

The University and users recognize that all members of the University community are bound by federal and local laws relating to civil rights, harassment, copyright, security and other statutes relating to electronic media. It should be understood that this policy does not preclude enforcement under the laws and regulations of the United States of America or the District of Columbia.