Rights and Responsibilities When Using Electronic University Resources

Information Technology Services (ITS) is the university organization that provides access to the university computing, networking, telephony, and information resources (hereafter referred to as the network) for University of Detroit Mercy students, faculty, staff, administrators, and sponsored guests.

The University computer network consists of the university-wide backbone network, campus-wide backbone networks, local area networks, and many shared computer systems as well as personal desktop computers. ITS works to ensure that network rights are not violated and network responsibilities are followed.

Network resources also include:

  • Digital information such as files, records, and images, audio, video, or textual material (including network account information, access, and authorization codes) stored on or accessible through the network.
  • Computer and networking programs, programming languages, instructions, or routines, which are used to perform work on the network.

Individuals covered

This policy applies to all persons accessing and using the network through any facility of the University. These persons include students, faculty, staff, administrators, persons retained to perform University work, and any other person extended access and use privileges by the University given the availability of these resources and services, and in accordance with University contractual agreements and obligations.

Rights regarding access and use of network resources and services

Members of the University community and others extended access privileges by the University can expect certain rights as they use the network and its services.

  • Privacy: All members of the community have the right to privacy in their electronic mail when it is used for personal, scholarly, and professional purposes—keeping in mind, that the primary use of the university’s electronic mail system must be related to the University's research and scholarship, teaching, and service and community engagement missions and to the person's educational, scholarly, research, service, operational or management activities within the University.

    However, it must be recognized that electronic communications are by no means secure and that during ordinary management of computing and networking services, network administrators may view a person's files including electronic mail. In addition, if an individual is suspected of violations of the responsibilities as stated in this document, that individual's right to privacy may be superseded by the University's requirement to maintain the network's integrity and the rights of others authorized to access the University network. Should the security of a computer or network system be threatened, a person's files may be examined under the direction of the Associate Vice President of Information Technology.
  • Safety: While unwanted or unsolicited contact cannot be controlled on the network, persons accessing the network who receive threatening communications should bring them to the attention of ITS and/or the appropriate authorities. All who access and use the network must be aware, however, that there are services and material available through the network which might be considered offensive to groups of persons, and therefore those persons must take responsibility for their own navigation of the network.
  • Intellectual Freedom: The network is a free and open forum for the expression of ideas, including viewpoints that are strange, unorthodox, or unpopular. The network administrators place no official sanctions upon the expression of personal opinions on the network. However, such opinions may not be represented as the views of the University of Detroit Mercy.

Responsibilities regarding access and use of network resources and services

There are also responsibilities that must be met as part of the privilege of network access. All who access and use the University network are expected to live up to these responsibilities. If you knowingly violate a network responsibility, your network access may be suspended subject to University policies and procedures.

  • You are responsible for the use of your account. You may not give anyone else access to your account. You must not use a Detroit Mercy network account that was not assigned to you. You may not try in any way to obtain a password or access code for another person's network account. You may not attempt to disguise the identity of the account or machine you are using.
  • You are responsible for the security of your passwords and access codes. This includes changing them on a regular basis and making sure no one else knows it.
  • You cannot use any communications services, including electronic mail, or other resources, to intimidate, insult or harass others; to interfere unreasonably with an individual's work or educational performance, or to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working/learning environment, especially within the context of university policies, e.g., Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy
  • You must not use the University network resources to gain or attempt to gain unauthorized access to remote networks, including remote computer systems.
  • You must not deliberately perform an act that will disrupt the normal operation of computers, workstations, terminals, peripherals, or networks. This includes, but is not limited to, tampering with components of a local area network (LAN) or the high-speed backbone network, otherwise blocking communication lines, or interfering with the operational readiness of a network.
  • You must not run or install on any of the University computer systems, or give to another a program that is intended to and likely to result in the eventual damage to a file or computer system and/or the reproduction of itself. This is directed towards, but not limited to, the classes of programs known as computer viruses, Trojan horses, and worms.
  • You must not attempt to circumvent access and use authentication, data protection schemes or exploit security loopholes without authorization.
  • You must respect authorial integrity, regarding intellectual integrity, including the use of personal, published, or proprietary software, and refrain from plagiarism, invasion of privacy, and copyright violations. You must abide by the terms of all software licensing agreements and copyright laws. You must not make copies of or make available on the network copyrighted material unless permitted by a license and authorized by a system administrator.
  • You must not perform acts that are wasteful of computing resources or which unfairly monopolize resources to the exclusion of others. These acts include but are not limited to, creating excessive or unnecessary network traffic, sending unauthorized mass mailings, initiating or facilitating electronic chain letters, creating unnecessary multiple jobs or processes, or producing an unnecessary or excessive amount of output or printing. Printing excessive copies of any documents including resumes, thesis, and dissertations is also prohibited.
  • You cannot place on University computing and networking systems, any information which:
    • infringes upon the rights of another person.
    • gives unauthorized access to another network account or system.
  • You must not attempt to monitor another person's data communications, nor may you read, copy, change, or delete another persons’ files or software, without their explicit permission.
  • University computing, networking, telephony, and information resources are provided to support the University's missions in research and scholarship, teaching, and service and community engagement. These resources may not be used for commercial purposes without authorization from the Associate Vice President for Information Technology.
  • Any network traffic exiting the University is subject to the acceptable use policies of the network through which it flows, including the Merit Acceptable Use Policy.

Acceptable use policies for these networks are available on the Internet.

EDUCOM Code regarding the ethical and legal use of software

The University of Detroit Mercy abides by the EDUCOM Code (1987) regarding the ethical and legal use of software, i.e., EDUCOM Code on Software and Intellectual Rights.

Non-compliance and sanctions

ITS and other appropriate university authorities should be notified about violations of computer laws and network policies, as well as about potential loopholes in the security of its networks.

Disregarding this policy concerning the rights and responsibilities of those authorized to access and use the University computing, networking, telephony, and information resources may result in the denial or removal of access privileges by the system or network administrator, and may lead to disciplinary action under applicable University standards of conduct. Additionally, such disregard may be referred to other authorities for civil litigation and criminal prosecution under applicable state and federal statutes.

Appeal of an administrative decision

Individuals who disagree with an administrative decision may submit an appeal of the decision to the Dean of Students or Human Resources. Individuals must submit these appeals according to any rules and procedures issued by the Dean of Students or Human Resources.

Relationship of this policy with others

This policy supplements the Acceptable Use and Security, Network, and Telecomm policies found on the ITS Policies page. 

The University reserves the right to change the information, requirements, and procedures announced in this policy. This policy will continue to be in effect until a further revision is required and promulgated. Consult ITS or the appropriate system administrator for information on other policies, procedures, or directives that supplement this policy.

Suggestions and comments concerning this Rights and Responsibilities When Using Electronic University Resources policy can be directed to ITS at its@udmercy.edu.

History

  • June 1, 2021: Initial Policy