Acceptable Use Policy
The purpose of this policy is to specify user responsibilities and to promote ethical, legal and secure use of computing resources for the protection of all members of the Merrimack College community.
Technology at the college is a shared resource and is intended to be used to support the mission of the college by integrating technology in the design, delivery and management of educational programs, academic support and administrative services in an Augustinian, values-sensitive environment. All users have the responsibility to make use of these resources in an efficient, ethical and legal manner.
All persons granted access to Merrimack College’s resources must comply with all security, legal and confidentiality requirements established by the college and by external legal authorities. Access to and use of Merrimack College technology resources and the internet shall comply with federal laws, the laws of the commonwealth of Massachusetts and the policies and procedures of the college. By using the college’s technology resources, including its network, users agree to the rules, regulations and guidelines of the college.
All users are responsible for the security of their own password and account. A securely guarded password provides a high level of assurance of privacy and security of resources. A password is not to be shared with others or posted in a place accessible by others. A password authenticates the holder as an authorized user of the computing environment and must be protected from falling into the hands of an intruder. As a precautionary measure, passwords should be changed every 60 days. For privacy and security, all users are encouraged to lock their screens when they are away from their PCs.
Email users must adhere to the following:
- Messages should be noncommercial in nature. Use of the college network for non-college business activities is not permitted.
- Users are expected to practice common courtesy in using the email system and respect the privacy and feelings of others.
- Unauthorized access to another person’s email or electronic files is prohibited.
- Mass email messages to any group must be approved by the vice president of communications prior to being sent.
- Harassing and/or offensive messages, pyramid or chain letters, and pornographic material are all examples of inappropriate content for email transmission. Any use of obscene, indecent, racist, defamatory, threatening or harassing material is against college policy and will not be tolerated. Such use is subject to college discipline as well as criminal prosecution.
Users must understand that email is not absolutely private and should practice caution in sending messages that you would not want everyone to see over the network. ITS does not make a practice of monitoring email and other files, but may be requested to provide a copy of any file or information resident on college systems allegedly related to unacceptable use or to protect the college’s network from systems and events that threaten or degrade operations. The college reserves the right to examine material stored on or transmitted through its systems. Any activity that inhibits or interferes with the use of the computers or networks of the college is not permitted. The college will ensure reasonable and acceptable use by monitoring access logs, traffic data and network utilization. Merrimack College users who conduct web publishing are solely responsible for their sites’ content and adherences to all policies stated in this document, as well as all other college policies and public laws, and are asked to follow these guidelines:
- Third-party advertising or commercial promotion of non-Merrimack entities is not allowed. No banner or pop-up banner advertising is allowed.
- Outbound commercial links must have an educational objective and must link to sites that do not contain content considered sexually explicit, profane, obscene, harassing, fraudulent, racially offensive, defamatory or otherwise unlawful.
- All outside links must be targeted to a new window to ensure the user does not leave the Merrimack website.
- Links that result in personal gain are not permitted.
- Adherence to copyright law and trademark protection in all of its forms is required, including, but not limited to, books, music, movies and graphics.
- No illegal activity of any kind is permitted.
- No threatening, harassing or slanderous language will be tolerated.
- All college policies apply.
Merrimack College respects the copyright protection given by federal law to owners of software and intellectual property as stated in the Copyright Act of 1976 and under the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, and adheres to the statement of principle developed by the EDUCOM Software Initiative relating to intellectual property and ethical use of software. It is against college policy to copy or reproduce any licensed software or intellectual property, or to illegally download from the internet any copyrighted material, including music, movies and videos. A user may not use software that has been obtained illegally on college equipment or personal equipment housed at the college or any systems used by the college hosted off campus.
United States law also prohibits duplicating software for use by multiple users within an organization and/or distributing an unauthorized copy to another individual. Users of college computers are subject to United States copyright laws, including ensuring that the restrictions that apply to the reproduction of software and intellectual property are adhered to and that the bounds of copying permissible under the fair use doctrine are not exceeded, i.e., a backup copy may be made. Violation of these requirements will subject the offender to disciplinary action that may include suspension of access, disciplinary action by the college and/or accountability in a court of law.
Merrimack College’s Acceptable Use Policies shall not supersede federal or state laws. Illegal actions may result in prosecution by federal, state or local agencies. Under the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, the college is obligated to take appropriate action if it receives a complaint that copyrighted material is being published over our network without permission.
In addition to internal college sanctions that can impact on a student’s academic performance, the college will cooperate with all local, state and federal agencies whenever necessary. The college will not be responsible for sanctions taken by these agencies for violations of the college’s Acceptable Use Policy that are against local, state and federal laws and criminal codes.
Tampering with computer files, software or knowingly introducing a virus to a college computer system is a criminal offense punishable through a court of law.
All users are expected to uphold all applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations, treaties or tariffs, as well as ethical laws of decency while using the Merrimack College computing resources. Any individual who participates in conduct that adversely affects the college’s pursuit of its educational objectives, violates or shows disregard for the rights of individuals within the college community or damages property will be subject to institutional discipline. Reports of known or suspected offenses may be made to the college’s chief information officer, who will refer any apparent violations to the appropriate disciplinary process.
Merrimack College provides campuswide wireless internet access, including in the residence halls. To ensure the most reliable and consistent wireless internet access, students are not permitted to bring or use any potentially interfering wireless devices on campus. This includes, but is not limited to, personal wireless routers, wireless access points and wireless printers. Please contact the help desk if you have any questions about wireless interference.
Users should not expect or assume any right of privacy with respect to the use of the college’s information technology resources. Although the Office of Information Technology Services does not routinely monitor the communications of its students, system administrators or other authorized personnel, the office may access or examine files or accounts that are suspected of unauthorized use or misuse, that have been corrupted or damaged, or that may threaten the integrity of the college’s computer systems or network.