Responsible Use of Information Resources Policy

1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to define responsible and ethical behavior that guides use of information and learning technology resources at Wentworth Institute of Technology. Information and learning technology includes, but is not limited to laptops, desktop computers, workstations, network servers, mainframe computers, software, digital information, voice, video and data networks, classroom media and instructional technology. This policy is supplemented by all other college policies and by the policies of those networks to which Wentworth is affiliated, including but not limited to Colleges of the Fenway and related consortia (e.g. FLO). Applicable local, state, and federal laws also apply to information and learning technology users at Wentworth.

2. Audience and Access Privileges

This policy applies to all users of Institute computing resources, whether affiliated with the university or not, and to all uses of those resources, whether on campus or from remote locations.  The rights of academic freedom and freedom of expression apply to the use of university computing resources. So, too, however, do the responsibilities and limitations associated with those rights.

As a user of these resources, you are responsible for reading, understanding, and abiding by this document.

The use of Wentworth information resources such as networks, emails, web publishing is a privilege granted by Wentworth to members of its community or related parties. It is not a right, and the privilege is contingent upon compliance with this policy.

Please be aware: Anytime you log onto a network or access email or the internet, you are in a public forum. It may seem very private and secure but often not the case. The point of a network and the internet is connection and participation in a far-flung community. When making use of the resources of Wentworth, we simply need to remember that resources are shared, that we are partaking in a community act, and should conduct ourselves accordingly. 

3. Policy

Wentworth provides access to information resources to students, faculty, staff, and certain other users to support the mission of access to learning and to conduct business. Every authorized user of information and learning technology resources at Wentworth is responsible for utilizing these resources in an efficient, ethical, and legal manner and in ways consistent with the overall college policy and code of conduct.  Additional policies may apply to specific computers, computer systems, or networks provided or operated by specific units of the university or to uses within specific units.

The following principles serve to guide the responsible use of information and learning technology for all Wentworth users:

  1. Sexual, Racial and other forms of Harassment
    Respect the rights of others by complying with all college policies regarding sexual, racial and other forms of harassment, and by preserving the privacy of other individuals. For example, you should not send harassing messages via email or transmit or reveal personal or private information about individuals. Spoofing, or misrepresenting your identity or giving false or misleading email addresses, is strictly forbidden.
  2. Authorized Use of Information Resources
    Use computing facilities, accounts, data, hardware and software only when you have appropriate authorization and use them for approved purposes. For example, you should not use Wentworth information resources to breach the network or any other network’s security, access another individual’s computer account, access or download any copyrighted or illegally obtained materials. In addition no commercial use shall be made of network resources without express permission of Wentworth administration: this includes sales, advertising, and soliciting.

    Hacking, spamming, spoofing, attempting to break in, or breaking into any workstation, server, mass storage device, or ancillary hardware owned by or connected to the Wentworth network or any external network connected to the Internet is a violation of Wentworth policy and may result in disciplinary action. Wentworth does not condone, sponsor or support such activity and holds no liability for any possible legal action brought against any student, faculty or staff found to be in violation of this policy by Wentworth, outside agency or party.

    Your WIT Network Password protects access to LConnect, E-mail, files, your laptop and/or desktop, and much more. Keeping it secure is an important responsibility. Your password should never be written down or given to anyone other than yourself. WIT will never ask for you to email your password or complete an online form and provide your password.
  3. Copyright and Lawful Use of Information Resources
    Respect all pertinent licenses, contractual agreements, and copyrights. Use only legal versions of copyrighted software in compliance with vendor license agreements and requirements. For example, you should not post another individual’s copyrighted material on your webpage or any Wentworth server without express permission of the holder of the copyright, or install or copy software with a single user license on multiple computers or distribute via data devices. Respect and adhere to all applicable local, state, and federal laws. For example, you should not use Wentworth information resources to attack computers on Wentworth’s or another network by launching viruses, worms, or other forms of destructible attacks, publish online or distribute via email or web copyrighted or illegal materials.
  4. Integrity of Information Resources
    Preserve the integrity of computing systems, electronic data, and communication networks. For example, you should not modify any hardware or software on laptop computers or any settings on desktop computers. The primary purpose of information resources is to facilitate the academic mission at Wentworth and to grant an equal teaching and learning environment to faculty and students.     

4. Privacy

Every effort will be made to keep electronic resources, including but not limited to programs, files, data, and email belonging to an authorized user of information technology at Wentworth private Wentworth makes every effort to insure privacy and security for user accounts, networks, and computing resources.  Wentworth cannot guarantee security for all electronic resources.  If policy violations are discovered, they will be reported accordingly. Wentworth reserves the right and authority to examine files, emails, passwords, and account information to protect the security of Wentworth computing resources and its users. All users should respect the privacy of others. No user should attempt to access accounts or information without proper authority. Reasons for examination include but are not limited to performing system maintenance; preventing or investigating unauthorized access or system misuse, assuring compliance with software copyright and distribution policies, and complying with legal and regulatory requests for information.

  1. Email Privacy

    The confidentiality of electronic mail cannot be assured. Such confidentiality may be compromised by applicability of law or policy, including this policy, by unintended redistribution, or because of inadequacy of current technologies to protect against unauthorized access. Users should exercise extreme caution in using email to communicate confidential or sensitive matters. 

    Wentworth mail systems are not private communication networks. Although it is not the common practice of Wentworth to access email accounts, Wentworth reserves the right to access and to review information transmitted or stored on its equipment with or without notice. Users do not have a privacy right in materials created, sent, received, or maintained on these systems. Administrators of the campus computer network will access user accounts only at the direction of the authorized owner of the account and/or the Office of the President. 

    Passwords are only intended to diminish unauthorized access to email. They do not grant implicit privacy rights. Wentworth will not use this policy to infringe upon the confidentiality and candor of the teaching/learning relationship when the campus network is used for the transmission of course-related materials for instructional purposes. 

    Email is legally the property and responsibility of Wentworth and Wentworth maintains the right to ensure that all users comply with policy and the law. Accessing or attempting to access an email or computer account other than your own, or attempting to breach computer or network security measures is forbidden. 

    Chain letters such as “virus warnings” are not to originate from campus computers. Global messages should only be directed to those concerned and should clearly identify the sender by department or organization.  Anyone sending inappropriate global or widely broadcast mailings will receive a warning from an administrator of the system, an explanation of the problem and policy, and a notification that further abuse will result in curtailed emailing privileges. "Curtailed privileges" means removal from the campus system for a period of one week. Any abuse of the system beyond that could be grounds for further steps. In respect to mailing lists it is your responsibility to determine the purpose of the list before subscribing. You will be viewed as soliciting materials delivered by the list as long as the material is consistent with the list's purpose. If you send materials to a mailing list which are not consistent with the purpose of the mailing list, you will be viewed as having sent unsolicited materials. 

    Broadcasting unsolicited messages or sending unwanted mail is expressly prohibited. This includes personal announcements, solicitations, or use of email to harass, intimidate or otherwise annoy another person. This also applies to material originating from this campus but sent to other sites or persons on the Internet.

5. Compliance with Policies & Law

All use of information resources must be in compliance with campus policies as stated in faculty, staff, and student handbooks, with published guidelines on student and professional conduct and with applicable local/state/federal laws. Student conduct guidelines are published in the "Wentworth Student Handbook," available from the Dean of Students Office and online.

Minor infractions of this policy, when accidental, such as consuming excessive resources or overloading computer systems, are generally resolved informally by the unit administering the accounts or network. This may be done through electronic mail or in-person discussion and education.

  1. Violation of Responsible Use Policy 
    Repeated minor infractions or misconduct which is more serious may result in the temporary or permanent loss of computer access privileges or the modification of those privileges. More serious violations include, but are not limited to unauthorized use of computer resources, attempts to steal passwords or data, unauthorized use or copying of licensed software, repeated harassment or threatening behavior. Any violation of this policy may result in curtailment or loss of access privileges immediately pending review, and will be subject to any existing disciplinary procedures of Wentworth.   In addition, offenders may be referred to their sponsoring advisor, department, or other appropriate office for further action. If the individual is a student, the matter may be referred to Student Affairs for disciplinary action.
  2. Violation of Campus Policy 
    Student violations of campus policy will be referred to the judicial committee. Faculty or Staff violations of campus policy will be referred to the Provost Office and HR respectively. Penalties may range from warning, temporary suspension of email privileges, to permanent revocation of privileges. Violations of law will be reported to the appropriate legal authorities. 
  3. Violation of Local/State/Federal Law
    Violation of local, state and federal law may also subject users to prosecution by local, state and federal authorities. In any such prosecution or investigation, Wentworth will cooperate with authorities. Any offense which violates local, state, or federal laws may result in the immediate loss of all Wentworth computing privileges and will be referred to appropriate offices and/or law enforcement authorities. The administration of Wentworth retains the right to immediately suspend user network access, pending appropriate judicial review, if a serious infraction of policy is alleged.
  4. Enforcement
    Members of the Wentworth community who believe they have witnessed or been victim of violation of this policy should notify or file a complaint with the appropriate college office as follows. Students should report suspected violations to the Dean of Students. Faculty members should report suspected violations to the Vice President of Academic Affairs. Staff members should report suspected violations to their department head who may report the problem to the Vice President of Human Resources. Reports of suspected unauthorized use or misuse of Wentworth’s information resources will be investigated pursuant to procedures mentioned in 5 a, b, and c.