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Student Computer Use Policy

Nicholls State University has a specific policy that governs the use and abuse of the university’s resources.  Students granted access to the university’s computing facilities are required to abide by the established policy for computer use.

The Computer Use Policy is a comprehensive policy dealing with aspects of computer abuse, whether physical or logical.  It applies to all university computing facilities mainframes, minicomputers, microcomputers, and associated equipment and links, as well as software, whether developed by Nicholls or purchased.  If abuse, actual or threatened, is suspected or detected, the matter will be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agency or university or authority for disciplinary action.  Confirmed abuse can result in criminal prosecution, dismissal, loss of computer use privilege and other such remedies as provided by established laws and policies of the university.

In general, abuse is defined as any improper use or treatment of computing facilities including, but not limited to, acts which, by mischief or gross negligence, result in physical damage, defacement, or destruction of computing equipment; theft; unauthorized access or use; unauthorized alteration, substitution, or deletion of programs, command files, data files, documentation, or other material; wiretapping or any form of unauthorized signal interception; divulgence of confidential information or computer access methods to unauthorized persons; copyright or patent infringement; transmitting statements which are obscene or libelous according to law through or with computer systems; failure to safeguard computer systems in both their physical and logical aspects; and failure to notify management or security personnel of instances of abuse, either actual or threatened, or conspiracy to commit any of the above.


Definitions

Terminology

  • User — Any employee, student, or other individual to whom computer access is granted.
  • Computer equipment — Computer processors, memory, peripheral devices, communication links, communication equipment, supply lines, storage media, or any terminals, printers, modems, or any other ancillary equipment or devices connected to or in any way used in conjunction with the mainframes, minicomputers, microcomputers and word processing units owned, leased and/or operated by Nicholls State University.  This is extended to include analog as well as digital devices.
  • Software — Computer source and binary programs or modules, including intermediate or universal code, whether for system or applications use, command files, menu formats, and on-line manuals used with “help” facilities.  This is extended to include firmware.
  • Computer Facilities — Computer equipment and software, as defined above, considered as an entity.

Physical Damage

Acts which, by mischief or negligence, result in damage to, defacement of, or destruction to computer equipment maintained by Nicholls State University.

Theft

The unauthorized use or taking for one’s own personal use of computer equipment or software.

Software Copyright Restrictions

  • The use of computing equipment or communication facilities to make unauthorized or illegal copies of proprietary software or in any way to infringe upon copyrighted or patented material of any nature.
  • NOTICE: WARNING OF COPYRIGHT RESTRICTIONS.  The Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, US Code) governs the reproduction, distribution, adaptation, public performance, and public display of copyrighted material.
  • Under certain conditions specified by the law, nonprofit libraries are authorized to lend, lease, or rent copies of computer programs to students on a nonprofit basis and for nonprofit purposes.  Any person who makes an unauthorized copy or adaptation of the computer program, of redistributes the loan copy, or uses the loan copy for monetary gain, or publicly performs or displays the computer program, except as permitted by Title 17 of the US Code, may be liable for copyright infringement.

Software Tampering

Unauthorized alteration, substitution, or deletion of programs, command files, data files, documentation, or other material is illegal.  This shall include the use of Trojan horses, spoofs, computer viruses (as defined in the common literature), or any other device, material, logical or physical, to obtain these ends. This also includes the use of computer facilities to gain unauthorized access to systems external to Nicholls and use of command files to add to, delete or modify any education record as defined by the FERPA.

Negligence

By design or neglect allowing computer logos, passwords, encryption keys, or any other access methods to be obtained by unauthorized entities is illegal. This includes failure to safeguard computer equipment in both their physical and logical aspects from abuse. Further, this includes the failure to notify management or security personnel of instances of abuse either actual or threatened.

Unauthorized Use of Data

Using sensitive or confidential information with which one is entrusted for personal gain or interest; dissemination of such information, or by design or neglect allowing unauthorized access to or use of such information.

Improper Use

Using the electronic mail or other communication facilities to transmit statements of an obscene, libelous, or threatening nature as defined under current judicial definitions.


General

Use, Rights, Privileges

The University’s computing facilities are provided for the use of students in pursuing the ends of academic endeavors.  By keeping in good standing with the University, a student will be allowed computing privileges.  These privileges entail certain rights to privacy and security.

Responsibilities

It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that his/her account password is kept confidential. If abuse or threatening messages occur due to allowing other students to access the account, the student who owns the account will be held accountable. Students are charged with special responsibilities for safeguarding the facilities with which they are entrusted. Failure to adequately and conscientiously safeguard these facilities from misuse will subject a student to being denied access to and use of the facilities. Furthermore, any damage to or infringement of copyrighted material or confidential data resulting from negligence may additionally subject the student to disciplinary action commensurate with the loss including dismissal or legal prosecution in accordance with University policies and local, state and federal laws.

Physical Damage, Abuse, Theft, and Logical Abuse

Acts of physical damage, abuse, and threats of such abuse will be handled in accordance with previously established procedures including criminal or civil prosecution and discipline under the University Code of Student Conduct, where applicable. Logical abuse, such as copyright infringement, software piracy, alteration of accounting, academic, and other databases for personal gain or mischief, plagiarizing, gaining or permitting unauthorized access, and the like will be handled in accordance with applicable criminal, civil, or university procedures.

Acts of abuse which constitute a violation of local, state, or federal criminal or civil statutes will be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. Nicholls State University, at its discretion, will pursue whatever legal and University avenues it deems necessary for achieving reparations.

Academic Dishonesty

Using the computer to gain unauthorized access to instructional material for personal gain or profit, or to gain unauthorized access to another student’s assignments, or for the purpose of sharing work in an unauthorized manner will be considered a violation of the University’s Code of Student Conduct. In addition to the sanctions provided under that policy, a student may also be denied access to computing facilities and be subject to other legal or academic discipline as appropriate.


Computer Lab and Network Usage Policy

Lab Environment

It is expected that all computer labs will maintain a quiet, library-like atmosphere so the students can use their time productively and with few distractions.  Although students are sometimes required to work in groups for some class projects and need to talk among themselves, this must be done in a controlled manner.  If there are groups in the lab doing projects, enforcing the quiet policy may be more difficult, but still needs to be done.  In addition, groups of students are not allowed to remove chairs from operational workstations in order to gather around one computer.  Students are to help maintain a safe environment in the computer labs by not placing their book bags in the aisles.

Academic vs. Personal Use

Students may use the computers to check e-mail and to browse the Internet for personal use as long as computers are available for academic use.  If computers are needed for academic use, students doing personal work will be asked to leave.

Student Accounts

All students are required to open a student account in order to use any academic computer lab.

Entrance Policy

A Nicholls Faculty/Staff/Student ID is required for entrance into all open labs (Cenac, WAC, and Gouaux). No exceptions will be made.

Lab Assist WorkStation

The lab assist workstation is to be used only by the lab assistant on duty. Only lab assistants are allowed behind the lab assist desk.  Visitors or Computer Lab students are not allowed.

Audio Distractions

Listening to the radio, cassettes, or audio from CDs, with or without headphones, in any lab is strictly prohibited.  The only exception is with regard to multimedia software on multimedia computers directly assigned by a faculty member.

Food, Drinks, Tobacco Products

No food, drinks, or tobacco products are permitted in the labs at any time.

Telephones/Pagers

The phones in the computer labs are not for the use of the general public or students except in emergencies or to call for a ride (especially after dark). All wireless phones shall be turned off. We request that pagers be placed in vibrate mode.

Internet Relay Chat (IRC)

IRC or Internet Relay Chat is not an appropriate academic usage of university resources and is prohibited in the academic computer labs.  Anyone using IRC or any variation of IRC in an academic lab will be required to discontinue the activity.  Further disciplinary action will be taken as deemed appropriate.

Game Playing

Game playing is not an appropriate academic usage of university resources and is prohibited in the academic computer labs.  Anyone playing computer games in an academic lab will be required to discontinue the activity or vacate the lab. Further disciplinary action will be taken as deemed appropriate.

Excessive Network Usage

Playing real-time video or audio that is not directly assigned by a faculty member is not an appropriate academic usage of university resources and is prohibited in the academic computer labs.  Anyone playing real-time video or audio not directly assigned by a faculty member in an academic lab will be required to discontinue the activity.  Further disciplinary action will be taken as deemed appropriate.

Patron composition

No children shall be allowed in any of the academic computer labs, as these labs are considered an “extension of the classroom.”


Lab Printing Policies

Students are allowed to print up to 20 pages of any one document in the labs.  The printers in the labs are not copiers and should not be treated as such.  Students are allowed one printout of any one document.  For copies, students must go to a copy machine or to a local copy company.  Enforcing the printing policies listed below ensures students will receive their print jobs in a timely and efficient manner and that the printers will remain in good working order for longer periods of time. The following general printing policies are applicable to all computer labs:

  • Students are allowed to print a maximum of 1 printout of any one document.
  • The maximum length of any one document is 20 pages.
  • Students wanting to print longer documents require permission of the lab assistant on duty.
  • Transparencies cannot be printed anywhere.
  • Labels cannot be printed anywhere.
  • Manual feeding of special paper (legal size or high quality bond) is to be done only by the lab assistant.

Non Academic Use

Computer Labs are not to be used for printing nonacademic related materials. You will be informed of the academic nature of the labs and asked to stop. The lab attendant will retain your printed material and forward it to the ITS staff for documentation. Further action will be taken as deemed necessary by the ITS Director.

Computer Supplies

Under no circumstances will any patron be allowed to leave with supplies.  Supplies are to be handled only by ITS employees.

Accidents

In the case of accidents that result in injury, regardless of how insignificant the injury may appear, students should contact the lab assistant immediately.

Unsafe Actions

Students shall not engage in any unsafe actions like horseplay or fighting. Students engaging in such unsafe activities will be asked to leave, or University Police will be called.

Alarms

Students should be able to recognize and evaluate the situation in relation to all alarms.  If a fire alarm goes off or a bomb threat is reported, students will be asked to immediately stop working, to gather belongings, and to evacuate the lab immediately. Everyone must remain outside until told by someone in charge that it is safe to re-enter the building.


Copyright Infringements

All students should recognize that information obtained through electronic methods may be protected by copyright laws of the United States (Title 17 U.S. Code), the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (H.R. 2281), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).  As such, any student in violation may be prosecuted under the terms of the law.  It is the student’s responsibility to understand the laws pertaining to copyright infringement.  A guide of how the law affects a student will be made available in the Library and in the Office of Academic Affairs.

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