Computer and Internet Policy

Electronic/Use of Technology and the Internet Policy

This policy, recognizing the integral relationship between the Foundation and its host campus, mirrors campus policy for the use of electronic and computing communications.  This policy includes all systems/resources for both local departmental and central university-wide facilities and applies only to institutional data and/or equipment.  This policy does not apply to computing equipment that is the property of the employee except that the use of personal equipment linked to university facilities (e.g., a personally owned microcomputer linked to the campus network) will be subject to applicable provisions.  In all cases, applicable statues and regulations that guarantee either protection or accessibility of institutional records will take precedence over this policy.

Purpose – The purpose for computing and communications systems, services, and facilities of the Foundation is to support the educational and service mission of the University.  This policy sets forth users’ rights and responsibilities and is designed to address related access, use, and privacy issues in a way that meets the University’s legal responsibilities, assures the maintenance of the campus network systems, and treats the campus community with respect.  This policy assumes as a condition of use the exercise of common sense, common courtesy, and a respect for the rights and property of the Foundation, University and users.

Access – Access to the university’s computing and communications facilities and resources is a privilege granted for the purpose of educational use and legitimate university-related business by university faculty, staff, currently registered students, and individuals or organizations outside the University who are actively involved in research, development, or other projects sponsored by a department, college or the institution.  Retired faculty and staff will be granted continued access to computing and communications facilities, but such access under certain circumstances may require modifications due to limited resources.  Faculty and staff whose employment status has been terminated for reasons other than retirement will not retain any form of access.

Legal Basis – Use of the university’s computing and communications facilities and resources is governed by all applicable CSU system and university policies and procedures, as well as by all applicable federal, state, and local laws and statutes.  Material accessible to the CSU, Chico community through networks and material disseminated from CSU, Chico should not be restricted on the basis of its content nor because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to its creation.  University administrators, faculty, and staff should challenge any attempts to censor electronic information resources.

Privacy and Ownership (Disclaimers) – The University and Foundation support each individual’s right to private communication and will take reasonable steps to ensure security of the network.  However, messages on university computing resources are potentially accessible to others through normal system administration activities and to the public through public records laws.  Hence, the University cannot guarantee absolute privacy of electronic communication.

The University supports each individual’s right to privacy of personal files.  However, in the normal course of system administration, the administrator may have to examine user files to gather information to diagnose and correct problems.  Additionally, with reasonable cause for suspicion and appropriate administrative authority, files may be examined by system personnel to determine if a user is acting in violation of the policies set forth in this document, other university policies, and state or federal status.

The University cannot guarantee that, in all instances, copies of critical data will be retained on university systems.  It is ultimately the responsibility of computer users to obtain secure, backup copies of essential files for disaster recovery.

The University will normally treat all e-mail messages, personal files, and personal data as private and confidential and will normally examine or disclose the contents only when authorized by the affected computer user(s).  Requests for access to private messages/data for any other purpose than technical problem resolution will be approved by the senior Academic Affairs Officer or his/her designee, except as necessary to protect the integrity, security, and effective operation of the university’s computing and communications facilities or as required by local, state, or federal law. 

To protect the integrity, security, and effective operations of the university’s computing and communications facilities and the users thereof against unauthorized or improper use of these facilities, the University reserves the right, without notice, to limit or restrict any individual’s use of any computing and communications facility or resource and to inspect, copy, remove, or otherwise alter any data, file, or system resource which may undermine security, integrity, or the effective operation of the university’s computing and communications facilities.  The University disclaims responsibility for loss of data or interference with files resulting from its efforts to maintain the privacy and security of computing and communications facilities.

Caution:  Having open access to computing and communications facilities implies some risk.  The University cherishes the diversity of values and perspectives endemic in an academic institution and is respectful of freedom of expression.  Therefore, it does not condone censorship nor does it endorse the inspection of files other than on an exceptional basis.   As a result, the University cannot protect individuals against the existence or receipt of material that may be offensive to them.  Reasonable expectations of privacy are diminished once electronic communications are sent to other users or posted on public systems.

Like a written communication, an e-mail message received by an individual will be considered the prerogative of the recipient to dispose of (copy, delete, save, send to others, etc.), as he/she desires.  An electronic message should be accorded care and courtesy similar to that accorded a written communication.

University or Foundation -purchased, -owned, or -maintained software for individual workstations and site licenses, data, and custom applications programs are the exclusive property of the University or Foundation and shall be used by faculty, staff, and registered students only in the conduct of University or Foundation business.

User Responsibilities and Acceptable Use - Each faculty, staff, and student of the CSU, Chico or Foundation computer communications systems is responsible for the material that he or she chooses to send or display using the campus computing/communications resources.

Acceptable use of computing and communications facilities and resources at CSU, Chico includes:

Additional information about copyrights can be fount at

The following guidelines further pertain to the appropriate use of campus computing and network services.
1.   Threats/Harassment*.  Users may not use campus computing or network services to threaten, harass, defame, or otherwise interfere with the legal rights of others.  (*Harassment is defined as the creation of an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment.)

2.   Respect of Privacy.  Users must respect the privacy of other users.  Examples of lack of respect for the privacy of others include reading their mail, accessing their files, or using their computer account or electronic mail address (except as may be required in the case of university employees for the purpose of facilitating official university business).

3.   Sharing of Account.  Users may not share their password with others or let others use their account (except as may be required in the case of university employees for the purpose of facilitating official university business).

4.   Academic Honesty.  Users must respect the intellectual property of others and adhere to university standards of academic honesty.  Examples of academic dishonesty include accessing or using the files of others without their permission, altering or destroying their files or messages, violating standard citation requirements for information accessible electronically, or using copyrighted software in violation of the copyright agreement.

5.   Illegal/Incompatible Uses.  Users may not use computing and network services for uses that are inconsistent, incompatible, or in conflict with state or federal law, CSU policy, or local campus policy.

6.   System Disruption.  Users must not intentionally disrupt the campus computing system or obstruct the work of other users, such as by interfering with the accounts of others, introducing or spreading viruses or other destructive programs on computers or the network, sending chain letters or blanket-email messages, or knowingly consuming inordinately large amounts of system resources.

7.   Operational Procedures.  Users must respect the University’s operational procedures for computing and network services.  Users are responsible for knowing and abiding by posted computer lab and network procedures.  Generally, operational procedures prohibit printing multiple copies of documents on networked printers and playing games in labs when others are waiting for systems.  Finally, as instructional use is paramount, users must leave a lab when it is needed by a class that has reserved the room in advance.

Sanctions and Disciplinary Actions - University faculty, staff and students who violate the above policy may be subject to disciplinary action following established Foundation channels for disciplinary matters.  Individuals who violate U.S. copyright law and software-licensing agreements also may be subject to criminal or civil action by the copyright or license owners.

Actions that are illegal or against university policy will be referred to the appropriate officials regardless of whether or not a computer was involved in their commission.

The University/Foundation may track user activities and access any files or information in the course of performing normal system network maintenance or while investigating violations of policy or statute.  Anyone using CSU, Chico’s resources expressly consents to such tracking and is advised if such tracking reveals possible evidence of criminal activity the University/Foundation will provide the evidence to law enforcement officials.

Violators are subject to any and all of the following:
            Loss of computing and networking access
            University/Foundation disciplinary actions
            Civil proceedings
            Criminal prosecution

Offenders may be prosecuted under laws including (but not limited to):
            The Privacy Protection Act of 1974
            The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986
            The Computer Virus Eradication Act of 1989
            Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property Act
            The California Criminal Code
            The Electronic Communications Privacy Act

Reporting Policy Violations - If a person believes that a violation of this policy has occurred, he/she should contact the system or network administrator responsible for the system or network involved, who will report the incident to the college/unit policy officer in accordance with local procedural guidelines, should they exist.

1.   University Health Center and/or the CSU, Chico University Police, if an individual’s health or safety appears to be in jeopardy;
2.   Foundation Administration, if violations occur in the course of employment;
3.   Campus agent to receive notification of a claimed copyright infringement, as it relates to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998;
4.   Informational Resources, serving campus-wide resources, if an incident potentially bears external or legal consequences for the institution.  This office is available to assist with investigations, generally under the auspices of the college/unit policy officer.  You may also contact this office if you wish to report an incident but are unable to do so through normal channels.