Table of Contents
The Howard University computer and network infrastructure enriches the teaching, learning and research environment by providing students, faculty and staff convenient access to services such as:
- Electronic mail for communicating with other members of the University community, as well as with friends, relatives, colleagues and other correspondents throughout the world.
- On-line library catalogs, electronic journals, databases, and other sources of electronic information available through Internet.
- The Worldwide Web.
- Special-purpose programs on central computers.
- Administrative information systems.
The aim of these policies is to assure that the campus computer network and University computers continue to be effective resources for teaching, learning and research.
This policy is intended to be compatible with the Howard University Student Code of Conduct and Judiciaries, the Howard University Faculty Handbook, and the Howard University Staff Handbook. In addition, to the maximum extent possible, this policy does not regulate content beyond what is stated by existing university policies which describe in detail the overall university policies, scope, applicability, responsibilities, and consequences. These policies include, but are not limited to, the following:
This policy applies to:
- All University students, staff, and faculty and others granted use of Howard University’s information resources,
- All computing and data communications equipment owned, leased or operated by Howard University, and
- All equipment connected to the University's data network, regardless of ownership.
- All Individuals who use equipment connected to the University’s data network, regardless of their affiliation with the University.
Locally Defined and External Conditions of Use
Individual units within the University may define “conditions of use” for information resources under their control. These statements must be consistent with this overall policy but may provide additional detail, guidelines and/or restrictions. Where such “conditions of use” exist, individual units are responsible for publicizing and enforcing the additional regulations they establish. Where use of external networks is involved, policies governing such use also are applicable and must be adhered to.
The University does not exist in isolation from other communities and jurisdictions and their laws. Under some circumstances, as a result of investigations, subpoena or lawsuits, Howard University may be required by law to provide electronic or other records or other information related to those records or relating to use of information resources.
Users found to have violated any of the following policies will be subject to disciplinary action including, but not limited to reprimand, suppression, discharge, denial of access privileges, probations, academic expulsion and/or legal action.
Copyrights and Licenses
Users must respect copyrights and licenses to software and other on-line information.
Integrity of Information Resources
Users must respect the integrity of information resources.
Users must refrain from seeking to gain unauthorized access to information resources or enabling unauthorized access.
System Administrator Responsibilities
The University delegates oversight of equipment to administrators such as deans, department chairs, administrative department heads, and principal investigators. These administrators are responsible for ensuring the adherence to the University’s Acceptable Use Policy for equipment in their areas of responsibility. These persons may implement additional policies which are consistent with this overall policy but may provide additional detail, guidelines and/or restrictions.
Responsible administrators may designate other persons, known as system administrators, to manage computing and networking systems in their units. System administrators have additional responsibilities to the University as a whole for the systems under their oversight, regardless of the policies of their divisions. Responsible administrators have ultimate responsibility for the actions of the system administrators in their units.
System Administrators’ University Responsibilities
System administrators have the following responsibilities for systems and networks they administer:
- Taking precautions against theft of or damage.
- Protecting the integrity and privacy of personal, financial, and other confidential information stored on systems and networks they administer.
- Executing all applicable hardware and software licensing agreements.
- Following appropriate practices for security and disaster recovery.
- Promulgating policies and procedures that govern services, access, and use of the systems they administer. At a minimum, this information should describe the data backup services, if any. A written document given to users or messages posted on relevant web pages shall be considered adequate notice.
- Reporting suspected legal violations, security threats or violations of University policy to appropriate University authorities.
- Cooperating with Information Systems and Services and with other system administrators, whether within or without the University, to find and correct problems caused by the use of systems under their control.
System administrators are authorized to take reasonable actions to implement and enforce usage and service policies and provide for security.
Suspension of Privileges
System administrators may temporarily suspend access privileges if they believe it necessary to maintain the integrity of computer systems or networks. If legal violations, security threats, or violations of University policy are suspected, system managers should also inform appropriate University authorities. At a minimum, Information Systems and Services should be notified.
Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer Responsibilities
The Howard University’s Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer shall be the primary contact for the interpretation, enforcement and monitoring of this policy and the resolution of problems concerning it. Any issues concerning law shall be referred to the Office of the General Counsel for advice.
The Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer shall be responsible for interpretation of this policy, resolution of problems and conflicts with local policies, and special situations.
Where violations of this policy come to his or her attention, the Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer is authorized to work with the appropriate administrative units to obtain compliance with this policy.
Inspection and Monitoring
Only the University’s Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer or designate, can authorize the inspection of private data or monitoring of messages (including electronic mail) when there is reasonable cause to suspect improper use of computer or network resources.
The University's Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer may also authorize general inspection and monitoring to assure the security and stability of the network and systems connected to it. This may include, but is not limited to, monitoring and inspection to support activities such as:
- Assuring adequate quality of service for critical applications
- Detecting unauthorized use of the network
- Filtering content (as described above)
- Preventing or investigating system problems or efficiencies
- Assessing security vulnerabilities of computers connected to the network
- Preventing or investigating improper or illegal activities
- Compiling usage statistics
Consequences of Misuse of Computing or Network Privileges
Users, when requested, are expected to cooperate with system or network administrators in any investigation of system abuse. Failure to cooperate may be grounds for suspension or cancellation of access privileges, or other disciplinary actions.
Users who feel they have been victims of abuse should contact Information Systems and Services.
If system or network administrators have persuasive evidence of misuse of resources, and if that evidence points to the activities of an individual, they should pursue one or more of the following steps, as appropriate to protect individuals, networks and computer systems:
- Notify Information Systems and Services.
- In cases of grievous or dangerous violations, temporarily suspend or restrict computing or network access.
- With authorization from the Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer or designate, inspect private files, diskettes, tapes, and other computer-accessible storage media.
- Refer the matter for possible disciplinary action to the appropriate University unit, i.e., the Office of the Dean for Special Student Service for students, the supervisor for staff, and the dean of the relevant school or college for faculty or other teaching or research personnel.
- After consulting with the General Counsel, report evidence of criminal activity to appropriate authorities.
Original – June 23, 2002
Revised – August 27, 2005
Revised - May 20, 2007